Plastic - Boon or Bane

Topics: Waste management, Recycling, India Pages: 7 (2079 words) Published: January 7, 2012
Did you know the very first plastics were produced by German chemists in the 19th century via a fermentation processes.

Plastics are everywhere!
Plastics are "one of the greatest innovations of the millennium. The fact that plastic is lightweight, does not rust or rot, helps lower transportation costs and conserves natural resources is the reason for which plastic has gained this much popularity. Plastics are everywhere and have innumerable uses! Plastics are durable, lightweight, and reusable. Also, the are used in packaging many goods. Did you know that if the Titanic was made of plastic, it might still be cruising around the world?

Below, I will discuss some of the countless number of ways that plastics change your life: * Plastic has replaced metals and glass as the primary material used. * Used in pillows and mattresses (cellular polyurethane or polyester) * Used in cars and hi-tech computers

* They provide good insulation for the wiring and are durable in extreme weather conditions. * They provide as a good non-reactive medium as water pipes. * They are light weight and colourful.

* Safe for children when they are food grade plastics. Ordinary plastics cause health hazards to humans when eaten in them. * Handy as disposable bags, carry bags, wrapping paper, etc.

"Plastic has benefited our society in a number of ways. In fact, plastic has helped in advancements in satellites, shuttles, aircraft, and missiles. As a result, civilian air travel has improved, as well as military air power and space exploration. In addition, the building and construction, electronics, packaging, and transportation industries have all benefited greatly from plastic."

Did you know that researches are trying to make a television (made of plastic) that will roll up in your living room?

Plastic - Health and Environmental Hazards
Although plastic has many positive influences in everyday lives, there have been instances when plastics have posed some health and environmental hazards. Most plastics do not pose any health or environmental hazards, but some monomers that are used in manufacturing plastics, have been proved to cause cancer. Even though recycling continues to reuse plastics, most plastics do not rot and cannot be reused. Unfortunately, this has become an environmental problem: Where will the plastic be disposed? But, many researchers hope to find a solution to this dilemma in the future. When every plastic can be broken down, plastic will truly become the most useful product! Plastic - Bane

* Non biodegradable.
* Obstruct underground water percolation.
* Microbes cannot destroy them.
* Produce harmful gases when burnt.
* Plastic bags thrown into the open drains and sewers clog them and cause stagnation of water, which in turn poses health hazards * Disposable syringes, drip bottles, blood and urine bags and other medical accessories when disposed off in an irresponsible manner, cause a lot of serious health problems. * Animals sometimes feed on plastics and die painfully as plastic chokes their digestive and respiratory tracts.

What we can do:
Avoid using plastic bags for shopping.
Avoid disposing plastic bags with organic wastes.
Avoid using plastic chairs and tables.
Plastic is made of crude oil. So lesser usage of plastic saves the crude oil.

Plastic from Plants: Is It an Environmental Boon or Bane?
Plant-based plastics are beginning to replace petroleum. But as the price drops and usage rises, will the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Facts:-
* More than 2.5 billion plastic bottles partially made from plants * PlantBottle from the Coca-Cola Co. is made by converting sugars from sugarcane farmed in Brazil into the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) * Most importantly from Coke's point of view, none of the six other major varieties of plant-based plastic can keep the carbonation from leaking out.

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