Plastic seems all pervasive and unavoidable. This is why we need plastic waste management system.
India generates 15 million tonnes of plastic waste every year but only 1/4 of this is recycled due to lack of our waste management system.
Above all, this leads to burden on the landfills and socio- economic condition of the waste pickers, mostly women.
In other words, plastic waste management or plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap on waste plastic and reprocessing material into useful product.
Since the majority of plastic is non-biodegradable, recycling is a part global efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream.
Especially the approximately 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste that enters the Earth’s ocean every year.
Plastic is ubiquitous, it’s visibly the backbone of globalization.
As we know eliminating it is quite difficult but through proper recycling practices and with support of people it can be done with ease.
Story to relate:
I have chosen to write this blog as I want as many people to know about what plastic is, how hazardous it is for the lives of not only human beings but also for the lives of aquatic animals.
I have read how this plastic can take the lives of innocent aquatic animals by disturbing their food chain.
It is true that government has taken many initiatives for managing this plastic waste properly but we are still behind many countries and to cope with this the people of our country needs to be educated.
I hope this blog will be helpful for this.
What’s in it for me:
Types of plastic:
There are 7 different types of plastic and each have different symbols that represents three arrows chasing each other within this symbol is a number which relates to the type of plastic that product is made of.
Listed below are the types of plastic:
PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate:
Beverage bottles, perishable food containers and mouthwash are the examples of PET plastic,
But it can absorb odors and flavors from foods and liquids stored in them.
The recycling of PET plastic involves shedding it and then re purposing into other products such as bottles, carpet for furniture.
HDPE or High density polyethylene:
Another commonly used recycled plastic deemed safe is HDPE.
HDPE can be found in shower gel bottles and cleaning product bottles and children toys contains this type of plastic.
HDPE products have a very low risk of leaching into foods and liquids.
PVC or polyvinyl chloride:
Further, this type of plastic can be found in food wrap, plumbing pipe, tiles, windows and medical equipment.
PVC plastics contain harmful chemicals linked to a variety of ailments including bone and liver diseases and developmental issues in children.
This type of plastic is also known as poison plastic, should not be used for food or drink.
Special programs recycle this plastic and turn it into ooh flooring or guttering. However, only around 1% of PVC plastic is recycled.
LDPE or low density polyethylene:
This is a safe and clean plastic commonly used in a number of items around the house.
Found in household items like plastic wrap, grocery bags, frozen food containers and squabble bottles.
Moreover, there has been increase in which recycling programs that accept this form of plastic.
LDPE can be recycled and made into to such items as garbage cans, furniture, flooring, paneling and bubble wrap.
PP or Polypropylene:
This is one of another safe plastic, known for its durable properties.
It is quite sturdy and found in Tupperware, syrup bottle, medicine bottle and yogurt containers.
Once recycled plastic producer can use it to make pallets, battery cable and even rakes.
PS or Polystyrene:
Certainly, it is an easily recognizable plastic.
PS or Styrofoam is found in beverage cups, insulation, packing materials and disposable dinnerware.
It is is also known for leaching and is not a material that can be recycled easily. Although it is possible to recycle it.
As this is a weak plastic, it breaks up very easily. Before there for once broken up it spreads through the environment easily.
There is a collection of plastics that fall into to their own category.
In addition these items are difficult to recycle.
They include sunglasses, baby bottles and even CDs.
These item contain BPA which is toxic chemical and can cause disruption to hormones as well as a range of health problems.
Impact of plastic:
There is no data or proof yet that plastic has an adverse effect on human health but a study says that drinking from bottle made of other plastics may lead to toxicity.
Many experts in the field consider it unsafe.
There’s been conflicting data about whether drinking from bottles can be harmful.
But plastic is very harmful for the environment and the reason why is it so are:
- It disturb the food chain of aquatic animals as it comes in sizes both large and small, even the tiniest organism plankton can ingest and becomes poisonous, this causes problems for the larger animal that depend on them for food.
- This can cause a while slew of problems, each step further along the food chain.
- In addition, the most worst effect of plastic is that it causes groundwater to pollute and our fresh water availability to decrease.
- Burning of plastic in the open air, leads to environmental pollution due to the release of poisonous chemicals, which often happens in India.
- Moreover, it costs millions of dollars each year to clean affected areas after exposure. As land becomes more valuable just finding a place to put garbage is becoming a problem in many parts of the world.
- As plastic causes many types of pollution, this leads to decreased tourism in affected areas significantly impacting economy of that country.
Policies of Other Countries Regarding Plastic:
In 2016 France banned free distribution of thin single-use plastics bags typically distributed at grocery stores.
Likewise a ban of thin green bags used for produce followed in January 2017.
In 2009, Mexico city introduce legislation to prohibit retailers from distributing single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags.
Cancun, a center for tourism had proposed a plan to eliminate plastic bags, straws, and water bottles.
Several municipalities in Canada have implemented ban on plastic bags with thickness less than 50 microns like Montreal, Victoria etc.
In addition, about 25 African countries have taken legal initiatives to curb the consumption of SUPs and Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda are exploring sustainable disposal methods for their plastic waste disposal.
UK Government passed a policy (which is yet to come in effect from 2022) that encourages the use of recycled package products among the producers by imposing plastic packaging tax on production and importation.
Initiatives by Indian Government For Plastic:
On March 23 India’s most populous State became the 18th state to ban plastic after the government issued the Maharashtra plastic and thermocol products notification.
The violators of this ban will have to pay a hefty amount as fine.
On December 2016 National green tribunal directed a ban on disposable plastic in capital Delhi with effect from January 1 2017.
Following the NGT order within the first two months of the ban 30000 kg of plastic bags were siezed in the City.
Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi announced on 2nd October, 2019 at the Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad that India would phase out single-use plastics by 2022.
After his August 15 announcement, several public and private organisations and state and Central Government department initiated moves to ban single use plastics.
Vendors were not allowed to use polythene sheets of less than 50 microns thickness for storing or transporting any commodity excluding garbage and cups of milk product.
You can also check Waste management in India
So, from the above discussion it is clear that plastic is not only harmful for the mankind but also for the whole world.
To sum up, every country has taken some steps to protect their own country from the adverse effects of plastic.
India has also done the same but the problem still remains in the:
- Lack of proper communication from the government.
- Lack of support from the people of our country.
And I personally believe that India still has a long way to go.
FAQs from answer the public:
Ans: There are many creative and effective ways to manage plastic and some of them are:
1. Using incinerators to burn the plastic waste.
This technique eliminate use volumes of plastic material but there are some concerns related with air pollution you do such burning.
2. Avoiding use of plastic and using paper bags shopping grocery or vegetable items.
3. Plastic waste such as old bottles or containers can be converted into creative and useful things that can be used at home.
4. Reusing the plastic bottles and containers to store things.
Ans: Yes, waste management includes recycling of not only plastic bags but also almost everything that can be recycled.
Ans: All types of plastic bags can be recycled except for:
Frozen plastic bags
Candy wrappers and many more.
Ans: In 1907, when Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland created Bakelite, the first very synthetic mass produced plastic.
Ans: It should be banned as it is non-biodegradable and causes a lot of harm to the eco-system.