“Be A Part Of The Solution
Not Part Of The Pollution”
Yes, indubitably, we have to find out the solution. Because, nowadays, ‘Pollution’ is one of the most discussible terms. It is one of the most alarming matters to every world leader. If we consider pollution as a demon, plastic plays the role of one of the vitamins to this demon as it supplies energy to this to become more pernicious. Now, the world is drowning in plastic. We can see plastic wherever we can look, on soil, floating on river, sea, and everywhere in our surroundings and beyond. Even in Antarctica, on the top of Mount Everest (which are two remoter places on this planet), you can find this ‘greater invention’ of the human being – ‘plastic’. We are getting stuck so much in the use of plastic, it seems that we can’t keep a single step without the use of plastic. Most of the time, we call water life so in that case, we can say that our lives are also packed in plastic as water bottles are also made of plastic. We use plastic once and then throw it here and there. We are so selfish that we don’t think about the other creatures even about the balance of the Biodiversity. The balance of biodiversity is getting disrupted by plastic.
We use plastic because these are easy and cheap to produce and they can last for a long time and they are easily affordable to common people. Without thinking about its harmfulness, we carelessly discard this. But we never think that the careless disposal of plastic can have so many dreadful consequences.
We can separate waste as biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. As plastic is a non-biodegradable waste, it cannot be decomposed by bacteria and other parasites in the environment.
Hazardous chemicals are muddled on the soil by plastic that creates destruction on soil and declines the quality of the land’s surface which causes soil erosion and soil pollution. Plastic not only causes soil erosion but also every year approx. 100,000 animals such as cows, dogs, etc. in-plane land and penguins in polar regions, are killed because of plastic. By devouring plastic bags mistakenly as their food, many animals therefore die. After the death of the animals, their bodies are decomposed in soil but the plastic, in their stomach, can’t be decomposed. So, the plastic remains intact and lies around in the landscape. When another animal ingests it, it becomes the victim of the same plastic.
When we burn it, it causes air pollution as noxious chemicals are released into the atmosphere.
Not only on land or in the air, but it’s also equally a menace to marine lives. It can disrupt aquatic ecosystems in two ways – marine creatures are entangled by plastics, and they swallow it by thinking of it as their food. These cause their death. A few years ago, a shark was found dead in the ocean and the astonishing fact is that there were so many plastics found in its stomach. One dead turtle found off Hawaii in the Pacific was found to have more than 100 pieces of plastic in its stomach including part of a comb, a toy track wheel, and nylon rope . A recent US report claims that 100000 marine mammals die every year in the world’s oceans by eating or becoming entangled by plastic wastes.
It is said that that there is positivity in every negative thing if we evaluate from a different point of view. It is also congruent in the case of plastic waste. But felicitous planning is needed for this. It is impossible to stop the usage of plastic hastily because it is a long-term process to reorient with new praxis. Most of the plastic products are seen to fall within the disposable products category like the rind of vegetables, eggshells, etc. since they are single-time-use plastic or packaging materials. Almost all the time we see that a large number of waste plastic products are carelessly scattered or discarded into places that are inaccessible for waste collection, instead of collected in waste bins where we can separate the wastes as organic wastes and in-organic wastes for further processing, recovery, and recycling via recycling centers. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPBC), India generates close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic a day, and over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected. One of the things, we all can do to protect and improve our environment is recycling. Despite its grievousness’, Plastic is among the most valuable waste materials. By using the process, called “cold plasma pyrolysis”, it will be possible to convert plastics into useful forms of energy and chemicals for industry.
But for this, governments should take the initiative. Instead of banning plastic, Government should make people understand that a single step of them can create a huge change and can make a mass movement towards the reuse and recycling of plastics. Many countries banned the use of plastic legally but it doesn’t work as it is people’s instinct to break the rule. Rather the only thing the Govt. can do is to spread awareness among citizens. If they realize the necessity of it once, they will do everything themselves.
If we discerningly observe, it will be easily understandable, why plastic recycling is so important.
Recycling of plastic can give us a new business model of plastic disposal and also can generate additional employment opportunities. By recycling plastic, we can make products like clothes (mainly t-shirts), carpets, containers, bottles, plastic lumber, films, plastic grocery bags, molding materials, doormats, lawn and garden products, and to name a few. Many of us don’t know that recycling five PET bottles produces enough fiber for making one t-shirt.
According to a report, a town alone generates around 80 tonnes of plastic per day, and plastics less than 30 microns can be mixed with bitumen. But if we use plastics for road construction, it will not only be cost-effective but also it will improve the durability of roads. The use of plastic waste in road construction will be less pollutant as we all know that the use of bitumen in a large quantity can cause massive damage to the environment because they are non-renewable minerals. Hopefully, in India, few states like Maharashtra, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Madhya Pradesh are already adopting this technology to construct roads.
Recycling of plastic stipulates less energy. By recycling plastics, we will be able to perpetuate the extra 80 percent of the energy which is used to make new plastic bottles, containers, and other items.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board, in India, less than 15 percent of the municipal solid waste generated is processed or treated. Recycling of plastics dwindles landfill problems. Study shows that if we brush aside the waste management issue and decompose plastics here and there so then by 2030, we will need a landfill as big as Bengaluru to dump all the waste.
It is a pleasure to know that many startup companies are growing up and they are involving them in recycling plastics. They are making a few innovative initiatives. Among those entrepreneurs, the most mentionable is a Pune based enterprise, Protoprint. It has partnered with Pune’s waste-pickers and is converting plastic waste into filaments for 3D printing.
But for all these, common people’s cooperation is needed. We should be aware of how to handle plastic waste management with the intention of reuse and recycling plastic.