Plastic waste: The growing risk for human

Alok Acharja

Plastic goods are very popular at present.  Its use is growing fast as it is made of light, easy to carry and aesthetic design. After lasting uses of plastic goods, we throw them around.  This is the general picture.  However, it is possible to reuse these products through recycling.  As a result, the earth will be protected from environmental pollution.  And it will be possible to prevent waste of money and materials. Moreover, there is a lot of economic potential related with plastic.  But due to our unawareness and lack of effective planning, plastic has become a threat to us.  Plastic furniture used in the home is not the apparent main and only cause of our plastic pollution.  Because these products are used for a long time and a large part of them are recycled.  But the shampoos, food wrappers, plastic bags, straws, small bottles or other small products that we are using from the market are all threatening the environment.  I am throwing it on the road after drinking.  Then it goes to the drain.  From there these wastes goes to the river. These bottles can be seen often floating on the river or sea.  From there many are collecting and selling it again and recycling from. But the question is how much is being recycled.  After using these, we throw them in the streets, drains, rivers, parks, seas.  In a word, anywhere. It seems that throwing here and there is our habit!     Just think how many people are using small plastic products every day and throwing them away again.  There is no one to clean up this mess.  As a result, these wastes are going somewhere in the soil.  Very few are going to recycle.  And thus the use of plastics is becoming a threat to the environment.  Just same as polythene is a threat to us.  One of the major threats is the use of disposable plastic materials.

As an alternative to tea cups, disposable plastics such as dishes, glasses, etc. are very popular.  They are being dumped in nearby ponds or canals or rivers without being destroyed after use.  These are not easily destroyed.  Many people know but do not have the tendency to comply. These non disposable plastics are creating climate change and environmental disasters.  It is known that disposable plastic products are mainly made with fossil fuels.  These products are very difficult to reuse.  Only 10-15 percent of these products can be reused every year.  Oceans, rivers, ponds are nowhere to be excluded from plastic pollution.  Lots of plastic is being found in the stomachs of dead animals in the sea.  Which we are throwing of the sea at different times.  I never thought that this plastic product I had thrown away would cause a crisis for the fauna.  We know plastic is harmful but we use it and throw it away for environmental pollution.  But why am I doing it?  The answer is consistent with the use of polythene.  Its use is increasing due to its affordability, low cost and comparative durability.  Plastic is a popular carrying item in the market, shops and markets every day.  At the moment there are no suitable alternatives to plastic.  Where once wooden furniture was made, today plastic materials are being decorated.  This has benefited the environment.  But simply because of lack of awareness and recycling these materials are becoming a threat to the environment.  Yet a large portion of our daily use products remain out of recycling, posing a threat to mankind.  Who will recycle when we throw plastic in the river?  Our neighbor India has plans to build a plastic-free country by 2022.  Every day many of us go to the market empty hand and come back to buy something plastic.  Then when the need arises, we throw it around.  There is no time to think about how much damage that thing can do to us or any responsibility towards the environment.

According to a report published in the media on this year’s world Environment Day, plastic waste has more than tripled in the last two decades in the capital alone after the ban of polythene.  The amount of plastic waste in the capital is 646 tons per day.  In 2005, an average of 178 tons of plastic waste was generated per day.  This product does not rot in the ground even in 500 years.  As a result the soil loses its normal capacity.  After reviewing 24 research reports on plastic waste, a report published in a Journal in March this year said that tiny particles of plastic were entering the bodies of many animals, including fish.  It is entering the human body through the food cycle.  These are playing a role in creating various complex diseases including cancer.  We forget that plastic is not made of any natural material but its effect is so severe that it stays on the ground for ages.  As it is popular among the people, there are no signs of its decline.  It is not possible to say where its use will end up.  However, it can be said that if effective steps are not taken, then the plastic will be boomerang for us as the polythene has appeared today. One-time plastic products from the country’s most polluted cities and villages. 

Concerns are growing around the world about the growing use of plastics and its aftermath.  A large part of these plastic products have reached the sea. Like other beneficial discoveries in science, the invention of plastic was an excellent one.  But like many inventions, plastics are threatening our human civilization today.  People are responsible for this.  We can’t use it properly.  In a country like ours where people are not aware, less people have a headache about the environment, there will be a plastic threat. The tendency throwing things away is exacerbating the crisis.  We have to do our best to free the environment from the adverse effects of plastics.  Although it is not easy, we have to do it.  Because the huge amount of plastic that is being used now cannot be eliminated.  The alternative may be the use of plastic can be reduced.  There was a time when plastic was not so widely used.  At that time the pollution of the environment was less.  The threat is growing as its use increases.  Especially the bottom of the sea is being filled with these plastic materials which is a threat to the entire biodiversity.  Plastic is also very popular today. If the recycling process can be done largely, then the solution of the problem is largely possible. As well as awareness with this is must.  The habit of throwing us where we are has become ingrained.  I have to get out of there.  Everyone must fulfill this responsibility to secure their future.

Author is a Columnist


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