8 Oct 2012


The deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil is the degradation of an environment.Thus any type of imbalance in an environment is undesirable.But humans are continously interrupting the cycle of nature for their own comforts.PLASTICS, the non-biodegradable thing is used by everybody as it is convenient and easy to use right from the vegetable vendor to a designer store. But most of us are blissfully of the repurcussions that are occuring and will take place in the future.This shows plastics have become an immense part of a human life.
One report says” The per capita consumption of plastic in India doubled from 4 kg in 2006 to 8 kg in 2010, and would touch the global average of 27 kg per person by 2020. Among the factors driving this growth are increasing use of plastics in packaging, infrastructure, agriculture, automotives, healthcare and FMCG segments”Ashok Goel, president, PlastIndia Foundation, an industry body, said the current size of the plastics industry is Rs 85,000 crore, and would grow at an average of 10 percent a year over the next five years to reach Rs 1.33 lakh crore by 2015.He said  60 percent of the plastics consumed in India is recycled, but the plastic remnants in municipal waste (accounting for 3 percent of the total waste) create a negative impression around its use.  60 percent of the plastics consumed in India is recycled, but the plastic remnants in municipal waste (accounting for 3 percent of the total waste) create a negative impression around its use.
Another report in Business-Standard says” The per capita consumption of plastic in the country stood at 6 kg now and is expected to go up to 12 kg by 2011. By 2012, India is also projected to be the third largest consumer market for plastic goods with a consumption of 12.5 million tonnes per annum, behind US and China. While the consumption of plastics in US is projected at 38.9 million tonnes per annum, China will be neck to neck with US at 38.8 million tonnes per annum."
Now the question is why this issue is critical? The following effects of use of plastics gives us the answer.
Litter the landscape: Once they are used, most bags go into landfill, or rubbish tips. Each year more and more bags are ending up littering the environment. Once they become litter, plastic bags find their way into our waterways, parks, beaches, and streets. And, if they are burned, they infuse the air with toxic fumes.
Kill animals: About 100,000 animals such as dolphins, turtles whales, penguins are killed every year due to these bags. Many animals ingest plastic bags, mistaking them for food, and therefore die. And worse, the ingested plastic bag remains intact even after the death and decomposition of the animal. Thus, it lies around in the landscape where another victim may ingest it.
Non-biodegradable:And one of the worst environmental effects is that they are non-biodegradable. The decomposition takes about 400 years. No one will live so long to witness decomposition of plastic. Thus, save the environment for the future generation of humans as well as animals.
Petroleum is required to produce plastic bags: As it is, petroleum products are diminishing and getting more expensive by the day, since we have used this non-renewable resource increasingly. Petroleum is vital for our modern way of life. It is necessary for our energy requirements - for our factories, transport, heating, lighting, and so on.
So.the next thing to take into account is ”What can be done about the Use of Plastic Bags?”Single-use bags have become such a ubiquitous way of life that it seems as if we simply cannot do without them. However, if we have the will, we can start reducing their use in small ways.A ban on plastics is already levied but the ammendment of the act is not seen up to the mark and the impact of the ban is not observed for a long term.There must be a social awareness regarding the issue only after which the scenario will change.
A tote bag can make a good substitute for holding the shopping. You can keep the bag with the cashier, and then put your purchases into it instead of the usual plastic bag.Recycling the bags you already have is another good idea. These can come into use for various purposes, like holding your garbage, instead of purchasing new ones.More and more goods need to be packed within a recyclable plastic.
While governments may be working out ways to lessen the impact of plastic bags on the environment, however, each of us should shoulder some of the responsibility for this problem, which ultimately harms us.

Brijesh Kesharia
7th Mechanical


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