Tongue-in-cheek one-liners and political jibes lend an air of irreverence to the trailer of the Malayalam film Aabhasam.
Directed and written by Jubith Namradath, the film features Rima Kallingal and Suraj Venjaramoodu and will be released on April 14.
The political satire centres on a bus journey and chronicles the many events that take place during the trip. Run by a travel agency named Democracy and named Gandhi, the bus travels from Bengaluru to Kerala, illuminating a gamut of contemporary political issues ranging from beef politics to moral policing. An old man cooking meat alludes to the killing of a “poor man like him” in Bihar because he was cooking beef. A middle-aged man who frowns upon a kissing couple is asked if he belongs to Shiv Sena.
Aabhasam was scheduled to be released on January 5, but was delayed because it was awarded an A certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification. The board had demanded cuts and asked for some lines to be muted. The release date was rescheduled after the filmmakers muted the contested dialogue but opposed the cuts.
“We are ready to comply with their demand — to make a few mutes,” Producer Sanju Unnithan told Deccan Chronicle in January. “Still, the movie can’t escape ‘A’ certificate. Some of the claims made at the Censor Board are that the film does not convey any positive message to society and it is all dark. But it is a satire. We won’t accept the certificate and will place a request to review the decision.” Aabhasam was granted a U/A certificate after a review.
The hazards of single-use plastic items, and what to use instead.
In June 2018, a distressed whale in Thailand made headlines around the world. After an autopsy it’s cause of death was determined to be more than 80 plastic bags it had ingested. The pictures caused great concern and brought into focus the urgency of the fight against single-use plastic. This term refers to use-and-throw plastic products that are designed for one-time use, such as takeaway spoons and forks, polythene bags styrofoam cups etc. In its report on single-use plastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described how single-use plastics have a far-reaching impact in the environment.
Dense quantity of plastic litter means sights such as the distressed whale in Thailand aren’t uncommon. Plastic products have been found in the airways and stomachs of hundreds of marine and land species. Plastic bags, especially, confuse turtles who mistake them for jellyfish - their food. They can even exacerbate health crises, such as a malarial outbreak, by clogging sewers and creating ideal conditions for vector-borne diseases to thrive. In 1988, poor drainage made worse by plastic clogging contributed to the devastating Bangladesh floods in which two-thirds of the country was submerged.
Plastic litter can, moreover, cause physiological harm. Burning plastic waste for cooking fuel and in open air pits releases harmful gases in the air, contributing to poor air quality especially in poorer countries where these practices are common. But plastic needn’t even be burned to cause physiological harm. The toxic chemical additives in the manufacturing process of plastics remain in animal tissue, which is then consumed by humans. These highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (benzene, styrene etc.) can cause damage to nervous systems, lungs and reproductive organs.
The European Commission recently released a list of top 10 single-use plastic items that it plans to ban in the near future. These items are ubiquitous as trash across the world’s beaches, even the pristine, seemingly untouched ones. Some of them, such as styrofoam cups, take up to a 1,000 years to photodegrade (the breakdown of substances by exposure to UV and infrared rays from sunlight), disintegrating into microplastics, another health hazard.
More than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to discourage the use of single-use plastics. Morocco and Rwanda have emerged as inspiring success stories of such policies. Rwanda, in fact, is now among the cleanest countries on Earth. In India, Maharashtra became the 18th state to effect a ban on disposable plastic items in March 2018. Now India plans to replicate the decision on a national level, aiming to eliminate single-use plastics entirely by 2022. While government efforts are important to encourage industries to redesign their production methods, individuals too can take steps to minimise their consumption, and littering, of single-use plastics. Most of these actions are low on effort, but can cause a significant reduction in plastic waste in the environment, if the return of Olive Ridley turtles to a Mumbai beach are anything to go by.
To know more about the single-use plastics problem, visit Planet or Plastic portal, National Geographic’s multi-year effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. From microplastics in cosmetics to haunting art on plastic pollution, Planet or Plastic is a comprehensive resource on the problem. You can take the pledge to reduce your use of single-use plastics, here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.