THEME:PLASTIC:FROM WASTE TO WEALTH
” Plastic disposal not only pollutes the land but the water and the air, the three primary elements for any living being on the earth”. Introduction:One of the biggest menace to the human race on this planet today is the pollution.it is increasing with every passing year.It is an issue that troubles us economically,physically and socially.The contamination of the plastic pollution is also being linked to some of the fatal diseases and oceanic pollution.The plastic wasre problem that is worsening with each day needs to be addressed so that its harmful effects on humans as well as the planet can be rectified.India has been ranked 177 among 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018.High rank in the EPI shows long standing commitments to protecting public health,preserving natural resources and decoupling GHG emmision from economic activity.The report has ranked India has fourth worst country worldwide in curbing environtal pollution.According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic a day and over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected.
Impact of Plastic Waste
Economic Losses: Plastic waste along shoreline has a negative impact on tourism revenue (creates an aesthetic issue).For example,the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, are under the plastic threat and facing the aesthetic issue because of the International dumping of plastic waste at the island.
Implications for Animals: Plastic wastes have profoundly affected animals in aquatic, marine, and terrestrial ecosystem.
- Plastic ingestion upsets or fills up the digestive systems of the animals thus contributing to their death due to intestinal blockage or starvation.
- Marine animals can also be trapped in plastic waste where they are exposed to predators or starve to death.
- The plastics may also contain toxic chemicals which can harm the animal’s vital organs or biological functions.
Implications for Human Health: The chemicals leached from the plastics contain compounds, like polybrominated diphenyl ether (anti-androgen), bisphenol A (mimics the natural female hormone estrogen) and phthalates (also known as anti-androgens), impact human health leading to various hormonal and genetic disorders.
- Mismanaged Plastic Waste:In the form of microplastics/microbeads when plastic enters the environment via inland waterways, wastewater outflows, and transport by wind or tides cannot all be filtered out once it enters the ocean.
- Spurious Biodegradable Plastic: In the absence of robust testing and certification to verify claims made by producers, spurious biodegradable and compostable plastics are entering the marketplace.
- Online or E-Commerce Companies: Apart from the plastic we consume through traditional retail, the popularity of online retail and food delivery apps, though restricted to big cities, is contributing to the rise in plastic waste.
- Microplastics: After entering into the aquatic environment, microplastics can travel vast distances floating in seawater, or sediment to the seabed. A recent study has revealed that microplastic in the atmosphere are trapped by the clouds and the falling snow.
Solution:Plastic Waste Management
- Reduce:First step in reducing plastic waste is to minimize single use plastics by supporting a tax on plastic bags, restraint on manufacturing of plastics, and using alternatives of plastic or biodegradable plastic.For example Project REPLAN (stands for Reducing PLastic in Nature) launched by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) aims to reduce consumption of plastic bags by providing a more sustainable alternative.
- Reuse:Reusing plastics can reduce the demand for new plastics, hence it can act as the natural restrain on plastic manufacturing.
- Recycle:Plastic recycling is the process of recovering waste or scrap plastic and reprocessing it into useful products. It offers several benefits like.
Plastic as a Wealth
- the government started making roads from micrplastic at the local level.
- e-Waste has quickly become the fastest growing waste stream worldwide.If we focus on technology aspects that allow for an optimal recovery of secondary raw materials and the safe management of hazardous substances. One of its major outputs are the ISO/IWA 19.The document can be used by small SMEs or serve as baseline for legislation.
- On WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2018 the world leaders vowed to “Beat Plastic Pollution” & eliminate its use completely.
- Plastic Waste Management Rule,2016 state that every local body has to be responsible for setting up infrastructure for segregation, collection, processing, and disposal of plastic waste.
- Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018 introduced the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
- Raising awareness amongst the public of the harm caused by plastic pollution through education and outreach programs to modify behavior.
- Provide incentive to the alternative industry by introducing tax rebates or other conditions to support its transition from plastic industry.
- Expanding the use of biodegradable plastics or even edible plastics made from various materials such as bagasse (the residue after extracting juice from sugarcane), corn starch, and grain flour.
- Use of microbeads in personal care products and cosmetics must be prohibited.
- The Swachh Bharat Mission should emerge as a platform for plastic waste management.
- Target the most problematic single-use plastics by conducting a baseline assessment to identify the most problematic single-use plastics, as well as the current causes, extent and impacts of their mismanagement.
- Consider the best actions to tackle the problem of plastic waste management (e.g. through regulatory, economic, awareness, voluntary actions) given the country’s socio-economic standing.
- Use revenues collected from taxes or levies on single-use plastics to maximize the public good, thereby supporting environmental projects or boosting local recycling with the funds and creating jobs in the plastic recycling sector with seed funding.
- Enforce the plastic waste management measure effectively, by making sure that there is clear allocation of roles and responsibilities.
- Monitor and adjust the plastic waste management measure if necessary and update the public on progress.