Plastic Pollution and Measures to Control

Pollution caused by plastic CONTENTS 1. Aim 2. Introduction 3. What is plastic? 4. Environmental hazards caused by plastic 5. Measures to control pollution 6. Industries that produce plastic in India 7. Importance Of Plastic Industry Toward Economic Growth 8. Ban On Plastics In India 9. Cost Benefit Analysis 10. Conclusion 11. References Page 3 Pollution caused by plastic AIM To make a comparative study of plastics and its effect on the environment. To analyze and understand the importance of introducing effective measures to control pollution.

INTRODUCTION Plastics have become a necessary commodity in today’s world. Everyone knowingly or unknowingly uses plastic substances. Karki (2008) discusses that plastic is used not only for making plastic bags but also for producing products that cover parts of vehicles that need to be protected. Karki (2008) reveals that plastics are synthetic substances that are the outcome of chemical reactions. It is a non-biodegradable substance that takes more than 100 years to decompose. It poses a threat to humans and animals.

Once plastic materials are disposed off into the environment they end up in our waters ways, beaches and larger water bodies, thus harming our aquatic life. If plastic materials is burnt it releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere causing air pollution. Over the years plastic has become a substitute for packaging materials such as paper bags or cloth bags primarily due to its low cost as well as the ease involved in the manufacturing process, weight and availability (Karki, 2008). PLASTIC Plastic are synthetic substance made from chemical reaction. Plastics are made from petroleum.

Plastic are polymers that consist of monomers linked by chemical bonds. These monomers are petrochemical substances that are not biodegradable. Page 4 Pollution caused by plastic ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS CAUSED BY PLASTIC Although there are various sources that lead to different types of pollution we are concentrating mainly on plastic materials as a pollutant. Based on the above information we know that plastic is a hazardous commodity that leads to land, water and air pollution. Although briefly explained above lets now go in-depth and understand how plastic affects land, water as well as air pollution. LAND POLLUTION

Plastic substances are used by many around the world and in a developing country with a huge population like India, the use of such materials is bound to be more. Since a lot of people use plastics for their day to day activities, the disposal of plastic products will also be high and to be honest a lot of us throw plastic bags or containers on the road. This leads to land pollution. So what is land pollution? Encyclopedia Britanica (Land Pollution, 2010) describes land pollution as the addition of unwanted materials that pose a threat to the organisms, decrease the soils fertility and have an adverse effect on the health of human being.

Animals die due to plastic substances by simply consuming them, the plastic gets clogged in their bodies and ultimately results in the death of these few animals. Further on, the collection of these materials gives an “untidy and dirty look” to the area. These materials find their way to our water systems and larger water bodies leading to water pollution. WATER POLLUTION Encyclopedia Britannica (Water Pollution, 2010). Most of the water pollution resulting from plastic is generated from land. 60% to 80% of water pollution is from plastic litter . Once in the water these materials pose a serious threat to our aquatic life.

Fish, sea turtles and other aquatic inhabitants can get entangled in plastic materials and can inflict serious pain, injury and even death. Marine organisms that have been killed by plastic substances decompose fast, but the plastic that kills them takes a long time to decompose, thus increasing the risk of other marine life consuming the same material, resulting in its death Encyclopedia Britanica (Water Pollution, Page 5 Pollution caused by plastic 2010). In a real case scenario a whale in Europe was found dead and its autopsy results show that its stomach was filled with plastic materials. AIR POLLUTION

According to the World Health Organisation about two million people die every year due to air pollution, many suffer from heart diseases, lung deceases and some even cancer. There are various sources of air pollution like carbon dioxide, combustion of fuels in vehicles, fuels from jets, toxic elements from factories etc. Plastics also contribute to air pollution. Plastics that are found on the road or even dumping sites are burnt therefore releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere, polluting the air. When individuals are exposed to the polluted atmosphere they contact various diseases that could ultimately lead to their death.

MEASURES TO CONTROL POLLUTION Hanh (1992) Plastic is a bane to our existence on this earth. It pollutes the atmosphere with its harmful fumes, poses a serious threat to our marine life and apart from this it also creates litter, making the place look dirty. With the above evidence we can boldly say that Hanh’s literature is true. There are various measures that can be undertaken to reduce plastic pollution but we would be focusing only on three criteria namely: 1. Recycling of Plastic 2. Government policies 3. Personal measures. RECYCLING OF PLASTICS

Nair (2010) reveals that around 10,000 types of plastics are used in the manufacture of various products such as pet bottles, toys and even clothes. This in turn result in these materials being dumped around at public places and become waste which as we all know has a negative impact on the environment and all its contents because of its non-degradable substances . Hence, recycling of plastic materials was introduced. So what is plastic recycling? The act of producing new products from waste plastic materials is plastic recycling. (Nair, 2010). Let’s now look into Page 6 Pollution caused by plastic the benefits of recycling plastic.

Petroleum is used in the manufacturing of plastic. Hence, if plastic is recycled, consumption of petroleum – a resource which is slowly depleting, will also be decreased (Nair, 2010). Since petroleum is a key ingredient in the manufacture of plastic, when burnt greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere. Hence, if plastic is recycled it will lead to a decrease in the level of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. Nair (2010) gives us another beneficial factor in the recycling of plastic is there will be a decrease in animals, birds and aquatic life dying due to plastic not being digested.

Further on if plastic is recycled landfill space can be saved. Recycling one ton of plastic saves energy that is used by two humans in twelve months and also water that a single individual consumes in two months and saves two hundred pounds of petroleum (Nair, 2010). Having now understood the importance of recycling plastic let’s try to make this world a better place by implementing this concept at home. GOVERNMENT POLICIES Many countries have banned the use of plastic. In India many states have done the same depending on their height and thickness namely Goa, Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and some others.

For example Goa has increased the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags to 40 microns. Public awareness programs have been conducted to educate individuals on effective ways of disposing of plastic materials. On 29th January 2010, the supreme court denied a plea to lift the ban on the use of plastic bags by the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association. This shows the seriousness of the government in making the environment a “greener” place not only for us but also for the generations to come. But do these bans really work?

For example three years ago West Bengal banned the use of plastic bags which were less than 40 microns thick, but this rule was clearly violated in markets, streets and other public places as plastic bags were being used. To tackle this nuisance they reconstructed their plastic management committee last month. Assam faced similar problems as not much was done to ensure that plastic bags were not used. Now the Government is going to take various steps to ensure that plastic bags are not used at all. These steps include monitoring shop keepers and business men who have not been abiding

Page 7 Pollution caused by plastic by the law. They would also impose a penalty which could be a fine not only on the retailer but also on the customer. In Delhi a huge amount of plastic bags were seized from shop keepers and have initiated a “say no to Plastic Bags” campaign. To prove their seriousness towards the ban they penalized Bata footwear with a fine of one lakh rupees. Rajasthan is the newest state to join the clan after banning the use of plastic bags on August 1st, 2010. They also revealed that offender would be fined one lakh and/ or five years in jail.

PERSONAL MEASURES Individuals should also contribute towards the elimination of plastic as it us and other living organisms around us who ultimately suffer. Hanh (1992) We can start by refusing to take plastic bags from grocers, because if this is done then plastic manufacturers would reduce the amount of plastic bags they produce. In today’s world many people do not have time to cook meals so they resort to ordering their meals from restaurants, who pack their food in plastic containers, these restaurants should start using sustainable containers, similarly with beverages.

People who use items like Tupper ware products should substitute it with a degradable substance. Public can also educate retailers about the dangers about plastic and encourage them to change their practices (Hanh, 1992). And finally we can start by eliminating the use of plastic in our own house, work place, school/college etc. INDUSTRIES THAT PRODUCE PLASTICS IN INDIA India is one of the countries that consume more plastics in the world. India ranks third in consumption of plastic. Growth of plastic industry is more than 14%. Petrochemical department in India is in process to setup development council for plastic manufacturing industries. 00% foreign direct investment is allowed in plastic processing and manufacturing industry. Industries like Finolex industries ltd, Plastiblends India ltd, AGA group international, Corporate resource group, ACRY plus (Matias, 2010) etc… are some of the industries that produce plastics products in India. There are many international companies that manufacture plastics in India they are GE plastic, LG polymers, Bayer ABS, Compounding, Clariant etc… These industries produce polymers, PVC pipes, plastic sheets, polycarbonate sheets. Page 8 Pollution caused by plastic IMPORTANCE GROWTH

As India is a developing country it’s difficult for government to ban plastic usage with immediate effect. Plastic industry contributes more towards the growth of the economy so it’s important for the government to take effective decision that doesn’t affect the economy. Plastic industry has strong correlation with growth of the economy. Plastics have multiple advantages in its usage. It can be used in various range of applications. It has more favorable cost-benefit ratio. Continuous improvement in the technology of producing plastics has made the users addict to it. OF PLASTIC INDUSTRY TOWARD ECONOMIC BAN ON PLASTICS IN INDIA

Even though the plastic manufacturing industry grow at more than 14 percentage state government have banned plastic that has below 20 microns. The Supreme Court has ordered ban on plastic in New Delhi, West Bengal pollution control board has banned manufacture, sale and use of plastic bags, Jammu Kashmir has also banned polythene carry bags, Himachal Pradesh government have banned plastic bags. COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS In cost-benefit analysis, money is used to measure private, external and social cost. Private costs are the cost that the firm earns as profit, many large scale and small scale industries are involved in manufacturing of plastics.

Plastics industry have growth rate of more than 14 percentage. This shows how much growth potential plastic industry has in India. External costs here are costs that are lost by the firms, farmers because of plastic pollution. The social cost that is equal to the private and external costs. The total cost to clean the river Ganga basin only contributes to 15000 crores. There are different types of costs-benefit analysis like Economic cost benefit analysis, expenditure cost analysis, cost-efficient analysis. Cost-benefit analysis can provide information about to use or not to use the resources.

Page 9 Pollution caused by plastic CONCLUSION The study reveals about the growth that plastic industries have and pollution caused by the industries. Government must take effective measure that to recycle plastics and make sure it doesn’t affect the environment. Plastic industries in India are providing many job opportunities, but it also affect the environment, recycling plastic has to be done. Industries or organization must take effective measure to recycle plastics and make sure that it doesn’t affect the environment.

New technologies must be invented as an alternative use for plastic as petroleum is used in manufacturing plastic. Page 10 Pollution caused by plastic

REFERENCES Karki, K. (2008). Plastic as a Source of Environmental Pollution What is The Sollution? http://www. articlesbase. com/plastic-surgeries-articles/plastic-as-a-source-of-environmental-pollution-whatis-the-solution-610752. html Plastic Pollution. (2010). Encyclopedia Britannica. Hanh, T. Peace Is Every Step (1992, p. 108) Nair, S. (2010). Benefits of Recycling Plastic.

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