Plastic cups discarded after drinking tea are ruining the beauty of the banks of the Padma River in Rajshahi. Experts believe its far-reaching consequences will pose a serious threat to the environment.
On a visit to the spot, scattered or piles of plastic cups were found on the banks of the Padma River in Keshabpur Police Line in the city which is a place for recreation for lots of people who gather there every day.
People also visit other areas including Srirampur T-Dam, Padma Garden, Dargah Para Lalon Shah Mancha.
These cups are being dumped in places where a lot of people gather on the banks of the Padma.
Shopkeepers say visitors leave with tea in plastic cups and throw them away after finishing the tea.
Apu, a tea seller from Battala in Keshabpur, said no one wants to drink tea in glass cups anymore. Everyone wants to have tea in plastic cups. Baskets have been kept to hold discarded cups, and some people put the cups there. However, most of them leave with the disposable cups and later they throw them away anywhere.
Another tea seller named Milu of Battala in Keshabpur police line said garbage trucks have not been coming for several days. So, the cup keep piling up.
"The garbage truck comes at around 11 pm, and we leave around 9 pm. The cups have been piled up for several days because the garbage trucks have not arrived," said another tea vendor named Khalil.
Faisal Hossain, who visited Keshabpur Raksha Dam in the city, said it was good to have tea in disposable plastic cups because he can roam across the area while sipping tea. He does not have to sit in a crowded tea stall.
"There is no wastebasket in which to throw the cup anywhere on the river bank. That's why I threw it on the bank. Although I know it was not the right thing to do, there was no other option," he said.
Another young man, Rafid Iftiar, said it would have been better to have a dustbin for dumping garbage on the bank. Many also throw cups in the river, posing a serious threat to the environment.
Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Save Nature and Life, said plastics are a big enemy of the environment. Besides, Covid-19 stays on plastics for a long time. If a tea vendor is infected, a plastic cup provided by him can lead to the infection of many people.
If an infected person drops the cup after drinking tea, the virus can spread to many people. And most importantly, during this dengue season, there is a fear that dengue will spread through the water in the cups as a result of throwing them away indiscriminately everywhere.
He said he saw many tea vendors in the city collecting plastic cups and throwing them in the drain. Then those cups block the drain and obstruct the flow of water.
Rajshahi University Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences Mizanur Rahman said plastic is a serious threat to the environment. It destroys the quality of soil and water. So, the use of plastic cups should be stopped. Tea can be served in cups made of thick paper instead.
Chinmoy Kanti Das, a former professor of community medicine of Rajshahi Medical College, said drinking tea in plastic cups is a serious threat to public health. Alternatives must be considered.