PLaStiC tHE poLLuTanT. According to Nas Daily, 300 millions tons of plastics are produced every year. 50% of that is for single use as is the case with bottles. Plastics has become one of the worst pollutant problems in the world. The plastic waste fills garbage dumps, slums, city streets, beaches, rivers, our forest and increasingly larger areas of our oceans.
We use them once for a few minutes and throw them away. It causes major harm to our environment, our wild life , our marine life and even to humans. Single use plastic is a huge problem.
- We currently recover only 5% of the plastic we produced.
- 50% of the plastic we use were used just once and threw away like wrappers.
- It takes 500 – 1000 years for plastic to degrade. Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form.
- The production of plastic uses around 8% of the world’s oil production.
- Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the oceans surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastics per square mile.
- Billions of tons of plastics can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80% of the pollution enters the ocean from the land.
- 46% of the plastic float and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
- Plastic in the ocean breaks down into small pieces of plastic from a one litre bottle could end up on every 2 km of beach throughout the world.
- According to 2017 media report entitled ” Synthetic polymer contamination in global drinking water” 83% of water samples taken around the world contained plastic pollutants…. showed…. contamination rate of 94% tap water in the U.S. was the most polluted, followed by Lebanon and India.
- Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body – 93% of Americans aged 6 or older test positive for BPA (A Plastic Chemical). Some of these plastic compound have been found to alter hormones or cause other health hazards.
It been estimated that 8 million metric tons of the plastic that goes to waste is dumped into our oceans every minute.
* Plastic water bottles and snack-food packaging have even been found in the deepest part of the oceans, at depths of nearly 11000 , meters.
* It is expected that mankind by 2050 — yet only about 5% of plastic is currently recycled.
Microplastics have been found in the guts of marine mammals, sea turtle hatchlings, and humans around the globe.
THE WAY FORWARD
There is a movement to go against plastic usage. In Ag 15, 2019, India’s PM Narendra Modi called upon the citizens to stop using the single-use plastics, HOW CAN IT BE DONE? Avoid it totally. Go for alternative resources and methods. Couple of such methods are discussed here.
Plastic-Free Supermarkets show that not using plastic is perfectly possible. Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza opened this plastic-free shop in 2018.
PLASTIC FREE BRANDING
One of the inspiring new techniques that stands out to me is natural branding, a technique in which lasers are used to mark vegetables and fruit in lieu of plastic stickers. Plastic-Free supermarkets are also popping up here and there and are showing the big chains the way to follow. Other people show as how to live with zero waste.
The machine that can add the laser brand marks are getting cheaper, smaller and better every year. This means that they are becoming more viable for increasing numbers of products.
It is the techniques in which lasers are used to mark fruits and vegetables, by burning little pigment away from the outmost layer of the skin.