Author: Dr Sachitra Singh, MD (Pathology, AIIA)
Boon means a thing that is beneficial or helpful and bane means something that cause distress or arrogance so, according to the topic, if we are talking about plastic boon or bane, then plastic is a synthetic material that can be molded into any form with its ease of manufacturing and lower cost. Plastic has replaced other conventional material such as wood, clay, bones etc.
But plastic is non biodegradable and decompose a different rates. If It breaks down into the small pieces then it releases harmful gases like No2 and SO2, apart from the releasing heavy metals and toxins chemical such as dioxin. They threaten marine life and the well-being of people, as microplastics are now found in drinking water.
Plastic pollution has become an epidemic. Every year, we throw away enough plastic to circle the Earth four times. As of 2018, 380 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide, out of which only 9% is recycled, 12% is incinerated and the rest goes to the landfills, pulluting the environment.
Every piece of plastic ever disposed of is damaging the earth. Its lying somewhere in the earth, floating in the ocean. Plastic waste is a risk to public health as it enters our food chain creates congestion problem in brain, causing flooding, ends up in river bed and oceans, depleting ecosystem and marine biodiversity, where it is responsible for killing one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.
Globally, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute. A report produced by the World Economic Forum (2018), found that by 2050, there will be more plastic then fish in the world’s oceans due to 1.3 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the ocean each year.
From Pollution to Solution
Plastic pollution is a a pressing environmental concern that request our collective action. United Nation secretary general Autonio Guterres urged all people to reject single use plastic items, and warned that growing levels of plastic waste were becoming unmanageable.
On this Independence day address, Prime Minister called for movement to eliminate single-use-plastic in India, beginning on Gandhi jayanti October 2. This mov is part of an ambitious drive against single use plastic(SUP) under the theme ‘Shramdaan’ for which a detailed plan has been worked out for universities and department.
India generates an estimate 16 lakh tons of plastic waste annually. If sold at the global average of 50 cents, revenues of 5,600 crore a year. Why them cost of this waste around us? In order to realize the potential for recycling, waste must be regenerated at some. This segregated waste should be then transported and treated separately. If plastic waste is mixed with organic and sanitary matter, it’s recyclability drastically reduces and its value cost.
Plastic waste management
Plastic waste management rules, 2016 notified by the central called for ban on “non-recyclable and multilayered” packing by March 2018, and a ban on carry bags of thickness less than 50 microns.
Indian’s efforts to beat plastic waste?
- More than 20 States and and Union territories have joint the fight to beat the plastic pollution, announcing a ban on single-use-plastic such as carry bags, cups, plates, cutley, straw and thermacol products.
- India has also worn global acclaim for it’s “Beat plastic pollution” resolve decreased on World environmental day last year, under which it pledged to eliminate Single-use-plastic by 2022.
Waste waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries two goods delivered by bye online platforms remains unaddressed.
Collect back system
The plastic waste management rules, 2016 are clear that producers, importers and brand owners must adopt a “Collect-back-system” for the plastic, they introduce into the environment. However, not much has been done to take the process forward.
What is needed?
- Governments must start charging the producers for this waste and collect deligently.
- State and local governments should upgrade this waste managements.
Role of local bodies: Local bodies should consult manufacturer or importers to assess the problems.
India has made a lot of progress in reducing plastic waste but a lot more still needs to be done.