Word of the Week #117:

Maladroit

From the brilliant minds that brought you Demonetisation ’16, comes another blockbuster that will melt your brains: Plastic Ban ’18.

And in the few days since its implementation, it has already shown to be as imbecilic.

Now, I do not mean to be overly harsh. The industry and the people at large did have three months to prepare for the switch. And on the very face of it, banning plastics does seem like a good thing to do, with respect to the environment, sanitation and other such concerns.

Plastic is one of the few things that can be described as being ubiquitous. Replacing it from every single application may be possible, but is it actually viable? And how will this discarded plastic be disposed of? Surely you cannot just throw it in the dumpsters and forget about it. If that had worked, we wouldn’t need to worry about it in the first place, right?

However, the biggest problem with such a step is actually quite simple: We do not have a viable alternative.

You cannot possibly sell cookies in paper packages, especially in the monsoon. They won’t last a day.

And what if I order some hot soup from a restaurant nearby. Surely, paper cups cannot hold that for long. Will you use metal cans? Those are actually not the most eco-friendly of materials. Glass is too bulky and fairly fragile. Not to mention, both are significantly more expensive. That does make a difference in an economy like ours.

What about silicone, though? It has almost all the upsides of plastics, but that is just the beginning. It is safe and durable. It is expensive, but not prohibitively so. Being based on silicon and not carbon, it is significantly better for the environment if disposed of correctly.

But therein lies the problem: Silicone is not biodegradable either.

Sure, it can be recycled, but that is predicated on, surprise surprise, proper disposal. And, if you are anyway going to do that, might as well get your plastics recycled.

Yes, that’s right. Many plastic products can be recycled. It would not be nearly as big a nuisance if all of plastic waste could be reused or recycled, but no. We want to dump it in a landfill, right?

plasgran-guide-to-plastic-recycling-grades

I am sure you must have encountered these labels, right? Usually on the bottom of a soda bottle or such… Ever wondered what they mean?

Well, this is the gist:

  • #2, #4 and #5 are the best. Use responsibly, and recycle. Plastic bags, which are primarily made from LDPE (#4) have been banned.
  • #1 is good enough, but try to avoid it. Interestingly enough, soda bottles made from PET (#1) have been exempt.
  • #3, #6 and #7 are bad. Avoid. However, thermocol decorations (#6) will be allowed till the end of a major religious festival in September. Because, priorities.

Unfortunately, our government seems to lack the nuance required to craft a thoughtful, thorough policy to implement waste disposal techniques that actually work. Instead they choose to harass local business owners and consumers for long-exsisting systemic failures.

It is quite clear that more thought and research goes into my weekly blog posts than in governmental policies.

Yes. Let that sink in.

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Word of the Week #50:

Matrimony

Basically, the thing people always describe as holey

What, they mean holy, you say? I never really knew. But, yeah, the general masses sounding that honest should have made me wary.

There are few words in this language that evoke as extreme reactions as this one, right?

Some would say, it is right up there with Demonetisation and Obamacare and Shahid Afridi…

Today, as we complete our 50 weeks online, I thought I might drop my own tuppence worth on the matter.

Firstly, let me just start off by saying that I always believed Afridi was an underrated bowler, until one fine day when he wasn’t.

Yeah, I believe this is what they call the ol’ switcherooContinue reading Word of the Week #50:

Word of the Week #49:

Egregious

Fun word, right? Right?

WRONG!

Basically, as the owner of a bank, how do you make sure people do not run away with their cash, leaving you high and dry?

Why, simply increase the transaction fees… That ought to shut them down, right?

Well, it has begun. Continue reading Word of the Week #49:

Word of the Week #38:

Futile

Well, I think I shall keep this one short; though any of these explanations are quite certain to end up like a stray seed buried in the Sahara.

It will, in all probability, bear no fruit.

Nonetheless, what stops us from trying one extra time, eh? Continue reading Word of the Week #38:

Word of the Week #36:

Inconvenience

Yes, as you can obviously guess, this post is inspired by the recent change in the definition of the word in Indian English.

It would probably be interesting to track what this change meant for the various people across our country in various situations.

For guys like me:

Before 8/11/2016
Being forced to drink Coca Cola when I really really want Thums Up.

After 8/11/2016
Being forced to take a deep breath and walk past the store when I really really want Thums Up.

For a normal guy at the ATM:

Before 8/11/2016
Going back with a ₹500 note instead of ₹100 ones, and wondering who would be willing to give you change.

After 8/11/2016
Going back with an empty wallet, despite having waited in the queue for hours…

For Bankers:

Before 8/11/2016
Teaching some ill-informed customers how to correctly fill out some forms to retrieve their hard-earned money, at the cost of aggravating the rest of the queue.

After 8/11/2016
Teaching some ill-informed customers why they cannot retrieve their hard-earned money, while staring up to an already aggravated queue, despite their own added strain of being forced to work overtime.

For small farmers nearing sowing season:

Before 8/11/2016
Well, pretty much everything, right? The physical drudgery, the meteorological dependancy, the financial instability…

After 8/11/2016
The fact that despite everything else having gone in their way, they still can neither sell their yield of this season, nor buy the seeds for the next.

For a man sitting in a rural hospital:

Before 8/11/2016
Telling his ailing father that he sold their ancestral land to pay for the routine surgery.

After 8/11/2016
Telling his ailing father that he cannot pay for the routine surgery.

For that guy who hoards black money:

Before 8/11/2016
Counting all those big notes in all those big bundles, before adding three zeroes at the end.

After 8/11/2016
Counting all those big notes in all those big bundles, and then multiplying that by 2, before adding three zeroes at the end.


Exactly 4 weeks have passed. 4 more to go, they say.

I wonder…

Word of the Week #34:

Mitigation

Now, it must be quite obvious that I am not referring to the recent demonetisation steps taken our benevolent overlords, which can at this stage only be described as an unmitigated disaster.

No, I am actually talking about Metro Rail being constructed in our city, and the measures taken by the local authorities to minimise the inconvenience to the general public.
Continue reading Word of the Week #34:

Word of the Week #33:

Reeling

That was how I evaluated my state, when a friend just casually happened to ask, “What are you doing now?”

And I can say with some certainty that I am not the only one…

First, the Government of India initiates NoCashNovember, which in itself was quite fun.

And not to be outdone, the people of US have Duck à l’Orange delivered at the White House, a dish that already makes many of us gag. Continue reading Word of the Week #33: