Plastic Pollution A Severe Concern

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Plastic Pollution A Severe Concern
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The dangerous trend is picking pace on its trajectory. Are human beings ready for consequences?

Shahid Majeed Mir

Human beings stand on the sentinel of living world in environment. They shape and reshape the processes of environment in absolute accordance to technological capacity. The Environment acts as service sector supporting and nourishing the living beings in world. The complex and dynamic interaction of biotic and a biotic components serve the cause of humans as well as other living beings. The food web complex supports the feeding links and helps in preservation of whole living kingdom. Initially the tribal life was heavily dependent upon environment for its survival. Therefore the principle of “live and let live” was adopted for sustenance.

This style and approach of life was termed as Deterministic approach. It holds the Nature as dictator dictating to Human beings who have no choice but to follow such dictates. Even environmentalism was supposed as main condition for sustenance of human life. Aristotle on analysing the pattern of living held the habitability of location depends how far it stands away from equator. Hence the human beings shared a good relationship with environment. They eked out the food, fodder and fuel from it and in turn preserved it in its pristine beauty. In contemporary periods we do have examples of tribes like Tiwa in Assam helping in preservation of environment. But the advancement of technological solutions and the improvement in trade and commerce paved way for exploitation of resources and thereby interference with natural harmonic balance.

The possible approach amplified scope of this trend and man went on this style without caring much about environment. Therefore the perception of economic development at expense of environmental health polluted the components to extreme levels. This pollution is defined as any undesirable change in the composition or components of environment. This pollution is rising day by day without any pause. The dangerous trend is picking pace on its trajectory. Are human beings ready for consequences?

There are various manifestations of pollutants whose sustenance pollutes the environment.  It makes the same environment dangerous for living consumption including human beings. In the distinctive domain the separate categories of Air, water and land pollution are designated. Among land pollutants plastic is emerging as one of hazardous pollutant with its wide usage and disposal at common public cites. Almost everything from soft drinks to carrying hardware are covered in plastic utensils. They make a tremendous usage in industry and trade.

Plastics are inexpensive and durable, and as a result levels of plastic production by humans are high.The chemical structure of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation and as a result they are slow to degrade. This pollutant is present in numerous forms in the environment. There are three major forms of plastic that contribute to plastic pollution: micro plastics as well as mega- and macro-plastics .Micro debris are plastic pieces between 2 mm and 5 mm. Plastic debris is categorized as macro debris when it is larger than 20 mm.

The causes responsible for culmination of this dangerous pollutant in the environmental components. Trash dumps and landfills are unfortunate major problems, as they allow pollutants to enter the ground and affect wildlife and groundwater for years to come. As plastic is less expensive, it is one of the most widely available and overused item in the world today. The nets used for certain large-scale trolling operations are usually made of plastic. First, these spend long times submerged in water, leaking toxins at will, but they also often get broken up or lost, left to remain wherever they fall.

This not only kills and harms local wildlife, but also ensures that pollutants enter the water and fish of the area. It is nearly impossible to break down. Burning plastic is incredibly toxic, and can lead to harmful atmospheric conditions and deadly illness. Therefore, if it is in a landfill, it will never stop releasing toxins in that area.

 Whenever the plastic product cumulates in the components it changes there composition and the durable sustenance character renders it harmful for living components. Like other pollutants, plastic has varied effects for those dependent on environment especially human beings. Because it comes in sizes large and small, polluting plastics even affect the world’s tiniest organisms such as plankton. When these organisms become poisoned due to plastic ingestion, this causes problems for the larger animals that depend on them for food. Groundwater and reservoirs are susceptible to leaking environmental toxins. When plastic is dumped in landfills, it interacts with water and form hazardous chemicals.

When these chemicals seep underground, they degrade the water quality. Wind carries and deposits plastic from one place to another, increasing the land litter. Burning of plastic in the open air, leads to environmental pollution due to the release of poisonous chemicals. The polluted air when inhaled by humans and animals affect their health and can cause respiratory problems. The mass of plastic has displaced animals or the related toxins have poisoned them, plastic pollution does a lot of damage to the world’s ecosystems.

The processes of making, storing, disposing of, and just being around plastics can be extremely harmful to living things. Excess pollution has lead to decreased tourism in affected areas, significantly impacting those economies. The beautiful beaches are turning there pristine colour to death valleys. The Goa tourism is in crisis due to huge piles of these plastic bottles. The soft drinks after usage are thrown open on the beaches as if the beach is one time password. The non biodegradable character of plastic replaced the sand and clay of beaches.

The piling wastage of plastic adds to already degraded soil composition .tourists both domestic as well foreign are contributing in deterioration of good quality beaches into dangerous stadiums for future. The city sewage accumulation cites are always filled with plastic items. Its sustenance renders the land in degradation. If beaches are to be preserved visitors has to emerge as responsive.

Where there’s a will there’s a way comes to usage in case of plastic pollution as well. If the society in its present course of action couldn’t replace plastic wholly and solely there are ways to minimize its effect and curb the dangerous trend.  Use of Biodegradable and degradable plastics. Reuse of plastic bags. Up to 60% of used plastic medical equipment is incinerated rather than deposited in a landfill as a precautionary measure to lessen the transmission of disease. Making policy to curb plastic use.

Example -The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, has requested various governmental departments to avoid the use of plastic bottles to provide drinking water during governmental meetings, etc., and to instead make arrangements for providing drinking water that do not generate plastic waste. At national level a varied legislation dealing with environment and a separate ministry is engaged in anti pollution campaign. But there’s a need of more stringent efforts in view of its rising usage in day today activities.

A comparative but integration of international practices may prove helpful. like In 2016, France became the first country in the world to ban plastic plates, cups, cutlery and utensils. The ban will come into effect in 2020. The only exception will be for items made of compostable, bio sourced materials. In early 2018, China banned imports of recyclable plastic from other countries.

This is a wake-up call for countries around the world, and a major shift in the country’s stand. In Taiwan what could be considered one of the farthest-reaching bans on plastic in the world, Taiwan announced a blanket ban on single-use plastic items such as straws, cups and shopping bags by 2030. Unless and until global steps are taken and the coordination of international community is aligned towards control of plastic pollution the goal of 2018 environment day as “Beat plastic pollution” is long drawn dream.

Source : Internet

India has been picked as host keeping severity of this pollution cognizance. It’s time to awake from slumber and save our wildlife, wildlife habitat, human beings from adverse effects of plastics. Let’s hope the action oriented strategy is implemented in letter and spirit besides the theme of environmental day. Slogans look fascinating on paper alone.

Writer Shahid Majeed Mir hails from Misribehak Machil Kupwara and can be reached at mirshahid363@gmail.com*

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