by Srinivas Rao – Whether you live in a traffic congested urban city, an agrarian rural area or a breezy beach, you surely see plastic bags blowing around here and there, anytime you leave the house here in India and many other places in the world. Plastic bags are used by every one of us in our daily life, from the vegetable vendor, to groceries, to a shopping mall. Plastics have become a part of our daily life. But most of us are unaware of the consequences that will occur and will take place in the future because of these plastic bags.
For more information about plastic waste, see this UN environment page:
“Today we produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population”
Plastics are made from oil with highly pollutive production, and most plastics just don’t dissolve. They are non-biodegradable and break up into smaller and smaller micro particles called ‘micro plastics’ that circulate in the environment. A small percentage of plastics end up being recycled, but the majority of plastic bags are used a single time. Many are discarded into the trash, and a high percentage end up making their way into parks, streets, and water bodies such as rivers, lakes and oceans polluting our natural habitats.
Plastic also carries a lot of disadvantages. It is harmful to the environment in several ways. In many rural and remote areas, people set old plastic covers and objects on fire to get rid of them. Since plastic contains a lot of chemicals, these are released while burning into the atmosphere. This makes the air we breathe toxic and harmful to our health. Animals who swallow plastic bags often suffer from intestinal obstructions, which typically lead to a long, slow and painful death.
A single water bottle can take many years to break down. In coming years there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Over hundreds of species are affected by plastics, nearly 45,000 marine animals have ingested plastic and 80% were injured or killed. Plastics can pierce animals from the inside or cause starvation, entanglement, loss of body parts and suffocation.
For more information on ocean plastic, check out this article:
“Our estimates show that the accumulated number of microplastic particles in 2014 ranges from 15 to 51 trillion particles, weighing between 93 and 236 thousand metric tons, which is only approximately 1% of global plastic waste estimated to enter the ocean in the year 2010”
So, what can we do? Start by saying NO to usage of plastics!
Get a reusable water bottle rather than normal water bottle, Use biodegradable bags or jute bags when you go shopping. Don’t use plastic straws when drinking coconut, cool drinks or juice.
Let’s follow the 3 R principles: