Plastic has become an essential part of our daily life and it has endless amount of uses. When we wake up in the morning the first thing we use is the toothbrush made up of plastic and till going back to bed, we use plastic over and over in various things and ways. We can do anything from plastics, but we never bother to think that what plastics can do with us. We don’t think how plastic is affecting our health and our environment.
STORY OF PLASTIC-
The world’s first-ever man-made plastic was introduced in 1862 by Alexander Parkes at the London International Exhibition. And that time it was one of the most revolutionary discoveries because it was the first time when human’s manufacturing was deprived by the limits of nature. We are completely clueless about how in coming days our own discovery will pose threat to ourselves.
GENERATION OF PLASTIC IN INDIA-
According to the report of the Central Pollution Control Board of India (CPCB), India generates close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic a day. And in total consumption 43% of the plastic is used for single-use packaging material. And over than 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected and later disposed into garbage and burned openly because there is no adequate recycling programs.
The CPCB estimated that the plastic waste generated in India in 2017-18 is 660,787.85 tonnes, which is enough to fill 66,079 trucks at 10 tonnes a truck. And this report is based on only data given by 14 out of 35 regional pollution boards. Since, 2016 other regional board doesn’t even submitted their report on plastic consumption and it’s disposal.
DANGEROUS HEALTH EFFECT DUE TO BURNING OF PLASTIC-
We know that the plastics are non-biodegradable. Hence, most of the people find best way to get rid of plastic by burning it. Without realizing how harmful this practice can be for their health. The burning plastics releases very toxic chemicals such as styrene hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, dioxins and heavy metals. These chemicals then absorbed by our skin and lungs and we also inhaled this polluted air. It later causes serious health problems such as – Heart Diseases, Asthma, Emphysema, Lung cancer, Headache, Rashes, Depression, potentially carcinogenic, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and many others.
Plastics don’t even burnt completely and get mixed with soil and through plants. And indirectly involved in our food chain and reach to our bodies.
In 2015, India’s Federal Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Steering Committee on Air Pollution and Health Related Issues submitted the India’s first official report in which the health effects of air pollution were directly addressed.
In 2017, air quality of India found to be responsible for 1.2 million deaths throughout the nation. And air pollution reduces life expectancy for Indian citizens by 5.3%.
STEPS TAKEN IN INDIA TO ELIMINATING THE PROBLEM OF PLASTIC-
In World’s top most polluted cities most are of India. The burning of plastic is one of the main reasons for the low air quality and many health problems related to this. In last few years state and central government has taken various step to reduce the usage of plastics. NGT also levied fine on open burning of garbage and makes arrangement of the proper disposal of plastic and not let them to burn openly. Some of the major rules are the following-
∆ NGT bans waste burning in open areas across the country, and imposed Rs 25,000 for the violators on each incident of bulk waste burning.
∆ Last year the government announced the first phase of ban on single use plastic and pledged to complete ban on it till 2022.
∆ Carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic less than 50 microns in thickness have been prohibited.
∆ Mass awareness campaign arranged to encourage the use of eco-friendly carry bags
∆ Ban of manufacturing and usage of plastics below 550-micron thickness in the cities located nearby Ganga river.
But, due to lack of surveillance and on spot legal action by the authorities against violators big change can’t seen and people are still burning of single-use plastics, tyres, rubber, paints, and other forms of plastic.
WAY FORWARD –
India is struggling to dispose its growing quantities of plastic waste. If strict steps should not be taken now. Then in coming days we will become ‘Plastic Positive’. There is a famous line goes ” To see change, we have to bring change”. Some of the alternatives of burning plastic are-
∆ Eco- Brick
∆ Change habit and always carry your own jute or cloth carry bags
∆ 3 R’s
∆ Separate plastic from other trash before dumping
∆ Waste-to-energy plants should be set up by government
So, start from yourself and pledge to reduce the use of plastic because nothing is impossible if we try to. Pledge today to reduce your single use plastic.