Growing up in seventies, I was accustomed to see my father go to market with two jute bags. One bag was for carrying the veggies and the other for carrying fish or meat. I used to think why does my father not change his bag? How I hankered after glossy polythene bags. They looked so glamorous, so shiny and best of all one could discard them when done with. Those days we never heard of recycling, except recycling our souls.
Today plastic has surrounded us from all sides. Plastic is inert. Plastic does not get wet by water. Plastic is non-toxic. Goods made of plastic are cheap. Plastic as a material is user friendly. Yet plastic is killing us.
|Dumped Plastic Waste Waiting to be Collected|
Plastic is filling our landfill sites. Plastic is clogging our drains, our rivers.
|Floating Plastic Waste in River|
Plastic is filling up our beaches and our mountains. Animals in land and sea
|A Cow Munching on Plastic Bag Containing Food|
die consuming plastic bag that contain food. Plastic clogs the digestistem if ingested. Plastic is everywhere and affecting all aspects of life form.
India produces around 5.6 million metric tons of plastic waste every year. This waste comes from electronic waste of computers, mobile phones, house hold materials, mineral water bottles, shopping bags, disposable catering plates, cups and glasses. India is among the top few countries that recycles its plastic waste. India recycles nearly 60% of its plastic waster, unlike those of Europe (7%), China (10%), USA (10%), Japan (12%), South Africa (16%). Still, remaining 40% constitute a huge 2.2 million metric tons.
According to disposal policy of government of India plastic waste has to go to landfill site. In landfill, plastic material may take 1000 to a million years to completely degrade. Plastics in different states of degradation release toxic material that leaches into ground and pollutes ground water. Plastic material should not be burnt. A multitude of toxic gases are released when plastic is burnt. These include carbon monoxide, phosgene, nitrogen oxide, dioxin etc. In addition, burning one kilo of plastic releases 3 kilos of carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming.
It is important to note that government is waking upto the menace of plastic waste. Regulations are being framed against indiscriminate dumping, and proper collection and disposal of plastic waste. Effort is being made to promote biodegradable plastics for food material packaging.
Genie is out of the bottle. I do not think anyone can stop use of plastic anymore because the convenience and cost advantage it offers. Aggressive campaign must be mounted to stop indiscriminate dumping of plastic and promote all possible ways to dispose of plastic.
Tags: Benefit of Plastic, Plastic Waste,Danger of Plastic Waste, Toxic Effect of Plastic Waste, Degradation of Plastic Waste, Burning of Plastic Waste