Effective Management of White Pollution

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  • Title: Effective Management of White Pollution: Role of Attitude, Responsibility, and Integrity in Kolkata, India and Chittagong, Bangladesh
  • Author(s): Sarmistha Biswas, Jayanta Saha, Ananya Nandy
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Global Studies
  • Journal Title: The Global Studies Journal
  • Keywords: White Pollution, Plastic Bags, Unorganized Retail, Cost Effectiveness, Effective Management
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 1835-4432 (Print)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1835-4432/CGP/v10i04/1-17
  • Citation: Biswas, Sarmistha , Jayanta Saha, and Ananya Nandy. 2017. "Effective Management of White Pollution: Role of Attitude, Responsibility, and Integrity in Kolkata, India and Chittagong, Bangladesh." The Global Studies Journal 10 (4): 1-17. doi:10.18848/1835-4432/CGP/v10i04/1-17.
  • Extent: 17 pages


It is unanimously accepted concern that the convenience of indiscriminate use of plastic bags is now dominated by its inconvenience and finally affects our sustainable living. Widespread use of plastic bags in the unorganized retail sector is a growing concern today in Kolkata, India and Chittagong, Bangladesh. Unlike the organised retail outlets or supermarkets, many commodities like fruits, vegetables, grocery items in this market have no preliminary packaging. In addition, free of cost availability of plastic bags in the market along with its storage, and weight convenience have created practical advantages for both the customers and shopkeepers to use these bags in this market. However, such practices have an adverse environmental impact as well. Despite the ban on the production, distribution, and usage of plastic bags, violations of this regulation are most common in this market in both the cities. Both quality and quantity of the plastic bags used in this market are a big concern in respect of white pollution. Moreover, environmentally protected shopping bags appeared in the supermarkets are hard to be accepted in this market (Zhu 2011). So need-based cost effective alternatives based on users’ choice along with a ban can act as a win-win key to achieve the goal. Again the choice of alternatives may vary significantly across countries due to cultural variations. Therefore with the aim of effective management of white pollution in the unorganized / peddlers retail market; this study made a comparative analysis of the present scenario in light of attitude of the users (both shopkeepers and the customers) in two cities, Kolkata, India and Chittagong, Bangladesh. An attempt has been made to evaluate their sense of ethical responsibility and integrity in this respect to identify the cost-effective alternatives based on users’ acceptance. Primary data is being collected, and the exploratory factor analysis is being used to analyse attitude of both the groups separately in these two cities. This comparative study identifies that despite the knowledge about required action to reduce the problem of white pollution a clear inertia is observed in both the shopkeepers and customers in developing a habit to control the usage of Plastic bags in Kolkata. However, despite poor educational background users in Chittagong, Bangladesh have shown their positive attitude towards their responsibility to cut the intensity of plastic bag use. No such attitudinal gap is observed here in Chittagong, unlike Kolkata. Successful management of white pollution demands a policy of having long term stable behavioural effect among the users apart from cost effective alternatives. This paper also tried, based on this comparative analysis, to curve out city-specific policy for controlling widespread use of plastic bags in line with cost effectiveness and intrinsic motivation of the users.