PLASTIC – A THREAT TO LIFE

Plastic is a necessary evil. We can hardly do away with it. It is threateningly astonishing to know that the amount of plastic that is disposed off every year can circle the earth seven times each hour. Every day we come across plastic in various forms such as garbage and grocery bags, bottles, food containers, computer keyboards, plastic mouse, coffee cups/lids and other such products. Though plastic products are very convenient to use, they play a harmful role in polluting the environment. Till the year 2000, the amount of plastic that was manufactured was far less as compared to that made in the first decade of this century. But where is all the plastic going? It would be startling to note that billions of tons of plastic is ending up in the world’s oceans.

The following video reveals some scary facts and pictures of Plastic Pollution.

According to The Energy and Research Institute’s(TERI) paper: “The cause of concern is the lack of an organised mechanism to deal with 15,342 tonnes of plastic waste generated per day,” it stated, pointing to the Central Pollution Control Board’s data on plastic contributing to 8 per cent of total solid waste, with Delhi producing the maximum, followed by Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Further, the paper quotes an estimate of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, which predicts annual per capita consumption of plastic in India hitting 20 kg by 2022,as against 11kgs per capita as on date, pointing to a larger crisis if left unresolved. The options to address the issue, as suggested by TERI may be (i) recycling of plastics using technologies through which a second supply chain of raw material can be produced where people will have to segregate the waste material at source (ii) generate fuel from waste plastics and/or (iii) to find other fruitful applications for non-recyclable plastic waste. Currently it is being used in cement kilns and for laying roads, when integrated with bitumen (naturally occurring impure mixtures of hydrocarbons).

Although the government’s job is to spread awareness, let’s not expect everything from it. We all have to change our attitude and act responsibly to put an end to our problems. Plastic bags were once a modern convenience but can be efficiently replaced by reusable bags, many of which fold up compactly in order to be portable. Disposable water bottles are causing immense damage to environment; it’s time to replace them with re-usable bottles. Plastic food containers, lids, and utensils are all easily replaced by reusable containers, which will cut down significantly on even a single meal’s waste. Low-cost replacements, such as bamboo utensils in place of plastic ones in local restaurants need to be promoted. We all can try and select items that come in non-plastic recycled and recyclable packaging, to do our best to properly handle items that can’t be reused.
So this is how we can contribute and help :
1. Reduce use of Single-Use Plastics–Say NO to plastic bags, straws, take away disposable utensils..
2. Recycle even single use recyclable plastic wares
3. Avoid products containing plastic microbeads by looking for “polythelene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of cosmetic products, usually found in face-scrubs, tooth paste, tooth brushes.
4. Participate in beach/river clean-up drives
5. Support organisations addressing plastic pollution
6. Spreading the word about regulating use of plastic individually, in groups & societies

Remember, we owe our existence to mother Earth and it’s our duty to save and protect our planet. India can be a better country, if we all become responsible citizens.


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