The environmental impact of plastic. Waste from to wealth
That flotilla of escaped plastic ducks joins millions of Lego pieces, sneakers, styrofoam insulation, plastic crates and a plethora of other items lost at sea that — surprisingly — are teaching us about ocean currents and about the astonishing indestructibility of plastics in marine environments.
But all this plastic waste is very harmful: listed here are the five ways that plastics harm the environment, birds and wildlife — and even people. But as with anything, even plastics may actually have a beneficial use, despite the damage they are causing.
“The facility in Cologne, Germany was the site of a massive fire in 2008, and there have been a series of high profile accidents elsewhere — a major oil leak in Norway, a number of chemical leaks in France, long-running controversies over chemical dumping in Italy, and the release of toxic gas that resulted in the hospitalization of workers in Belgium,” according to a report (ref) written by Food and Water Watch and Food and Water Europe.
Plastic from waste to wealth
Growing Concerns about Plastics:
The unblemished optimism about plastics didn’t last. In the postwar years there was a shift in American perceptions as plastics were no longer seen as unambiguously positive. Plastic debris in the oceans was first observed in the 1960s, a decade in which Americans became increasingly aware of environmental problems. Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, exposed the dangers of chemical pesticides. In 1969 a major oil spill occurred off the California coast and the polluted Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire, raising concerns about pollution. As awareness about environmental issues spread, the persistence of plastic waste began to trouble observers.
Plastic also gradually became a word used to describe that which was cheap, flimsy, or fake. In The Graduate, one of the top movies of 1968, Dustin Hoffman’s character was urged by an older acquaintance to make a career in plastics. Audiences cringed along with Hoffman at what they saw as misplaced enthusiasm for an industry that, rather than being full of possibilities, was a symbol of cheap. conformity and superficiality.
Plastic Problems: Waste and Health
Plastic’s reputation fell further in the 1970s and 1980s as anxiety about waste increased. Plastic became a special target because, while so many plastic products are disposable, plastic lasts forever in the environment. It was the plastics industry that offered recycling as a solution. In the 1980s the plastics industry led an influential drive encouraging municipalities to collect and process recyclable materials as part of their waste-management system.
. The ultimate symbol of the problem of plastic waste is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which has often been described as a swirl of plastic garbage the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean.
The possibilities of plastics gave some observers an almost utopian vision of a future with abundant material wealth thanks to an inexpensive, safe, sanitary substance that could be shaped by humans to their every whim.
PLASTIC. WASTE MATERIAL RECYCLING :
Urbanization and changing human lifestyles are major contributors to the high volume of wastes generated and disposed of annually. There are human activities, in product manufacturing and post utilization that generate wastes. Yet, these wastes are mostly managed by disposal into landfills. However, high costs associated with landfilling, coupled with its ineffectiveness in some less developed precinct, and land-space consumption, can be a major constraint to the management of these wastes. The volume of solid wastes generated increases annually, whereas only a limited amount is recycled and landfilled, and a large proportion of wastes such as plastic wastes (PW) are deposited directly or indirectly to the marine environment.
Environmental issues emanating from plastic disposal
Plastics are used in large quantities due to their beneficial properties such as lightweight, high impact resistance, ability to form it into different shapes and resistance to bacteria. However, as it is largely utilized so also there is a consequential amount of wastes generated. A larger percentage of plastics produced are used for a one-time (short term) application while about one-fourth is used for long term applications such as pipelines. This short span usage of plastics has led to a consequential increase in plastic wastes generated annually and improperly disposed of in the environment. A plastic among several others, found in the western region of Nigeria is shown in
The plastics are disposed of on open land, thereby constituting a nuisance by polluting the environment and occupying valuable land space.
Waste is not a problem,” says Ko kare. “It’s mixed waste that is the challenge,” he adds. Ven gur la has demonstrated that managing waste can be good business. Each month, the municipality earns INR 150,000 (US$ 2,300), which is used to improve solid waste management systems in the village. Ko kare.
As the country steps up efforts to Clean India, initiatives such as those in Ven gurl are demonstrating that a combination of awareness, innovation and partnerships can go a long way in transforming waste to wealth.