Plastic is a material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds most commonly derived from petrochemicals. But plastic is much more than what we may think of. Due to the low cost and ease of manufacture, plastics are used in multitudes of products of different scale.
It was designed to make our everyday life easier. The first plastics were made from fossil fuels and are just over a century old. They came into widespread use after World War II and are today found in everything from cars to medical devices to food packaging. But as it is said that ‘Excess of everything is bad’ It is believed that every year the humans produce nearly 280 million tons of plastic, and much of that plastic ends up in the environment, harming marine life and other ecosystems. It has undoubtedly done us more harm than good. It is non-biodegradable and hence it remains in the same state as we throw them. This plastic waste leads to the creation of dumps or garbage which makes our cities, soil and oceans polluted. To destroy plastic, we have to burn it since most of it cannot be recycled and when we burn it, they emit harmful gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, methane, sulphur dioxide and many more. The wastes of plastic bags, bottles etc are drawn to ocean by the rivers and get deposited in them which pollutes and disturbs the marine life. It also pollutes the soil, water and the air we breathe.
As we know that the plastic is today being used at an alarming rate, the biggest challenge that we face now is how to extirpate it without getting affected any further. We have to find out creative solutions to this problem. First and foremost we should reduce the use plastic bags as much as possible since it is the most common kind of plastic we use in our daily life. Many states in India have completely banned the use of plastic bags which is a welcome change. Another inspiring act which has given solution to this problem was given by Prof. R. Vasudevan who constructed a road which was made of plastic waste. It not only helped in getting rid of plastic but also generated an additional job for the rag pickers. Eco Domum, a Mexico based company has turned the plastic waste into a housing solution. Another innovative idea was laid by Marius Smit in 2011 wherein he started with Amsterdam canal tour with a difference. The tourists are motivated to take a fishing tour wherein they fish for plastic which is later on collected and used to make boats out of it.
It is high time that we bring down the usage of dangerous plastic in our lives and think of solutions which will help us in exterminating it and leading a safe and healthy life.
- By Ridhima Sharma