Plastics and Environment
Modernization and progress has had its share of disadvantages and one of the main aspects of concern is the pollution it is causing to the earth – be it land, air, and water. With increase in the global population and the rising demand for food and other essentials, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated daily by each household. This waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centres from where it is collected by the local municipalities for further disposal into the landfills and dumps. However, either due to resource crunch or inefficient infrastructure, not all of this waste gets collected and transported to the final dumpsites. Added to this if the management and disposal is improperly done, it can cause serious health impacts.
Plastic waste is a major environmental and public health problem in India, particularly in the urban areas. Plastic shopping or carrier bags are one of the main sources of plastic waste in our country. Plastic bags of all sizes and colours dot the city‘s landscape due to the problems of misuse and overuse and littering in India. Besides this visual pollution, plastic bag wastes contribute to blockage of drains and gutters, are a threat to aquatic life when they find their way to water bodies, and can cause livestock deaths when the livestock consume them. Furthermore, when filled with rainwater, plastic bags become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which cause malaria. In addition, plastics take many years (20-1000) to degrade and hence pose a disposal challenge. We have become so accustomed to the ubiquitous presence of plastic that it is difficult to envision life when woods and metals were the primary materials used for consumer products. Plastic has become prevalent because it is inexpensive and it can be engineered with a wide range of properties. Plastics are strong but lightweight, resistant when degraded by chemicals, sunlight, and bacteria,...
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