Planet technology

Earth: a plastic planet – Technology Times

Of all types of pollution, noise pollution was ranked the most dangerous, but plastic pollution replaced the status. Despite the legislation, nothing has improved.

Through Dr Abdullah G Arijo

This seems like a test for the federal and provincial governments to fulfill what they talk a lot about in the name of the eye-catching “plastic pollution” commodity. Although very slow, the initiative saw the light of day in the capital Islamabad, while CM Sindh announced that his dream would come after legislation to ban plastic bags, but without significant results so far. I wonder how this can be possible in a society where there is virtually no respect for legislation. We have legislation on smoking and the use of Gutka and Manuri, but who cares? nerves of steel and long-term planning are the only tools that can strike where it hurts the most.

Manufactured by Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian-born American scientist living in New York State, the first synthetic polymer-based plastic was made from phenol and formaldehyde in 1907, but until the 1960s, plastics were only becoming popular. However, polyethylene, which today is one of the most ubiquitous plastics in the world, was first created in 1898 and then again in 1933.

Plastic, a by-product of petroleum, is now a widely used item around the world. Plastic is one of 12 products produced while crude oil is subjected to purification. Thus, the fall or rise in the price of oil directly affects the cost of manufacturing new plastic products, especially bags and bottles.

Our ancestors left us with a biosphere worth living, but the so-called industrialization has ruined all blessings, be it water, air or earth to name a few.

Plastics are a non-renewable form of energy and their disposal involves burning the product, which leads to air pollution as toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere during combustion. In addition, when such smoke is inhaled by animals or humans, it can affect their general well-being and cause respiratory disorders, including lung cancer.

In addition, the pollution caused by plastic has caused greater impacts on the environment by adding a part to CFC gases, which in turn are a major cause of ozone depletion which is a major cause of the global warming.

Global industry analysts conclude that global plastic consumption in the world was around 260 million tonnes in 2008, and is expected to exceed 300 tonnes in 2015. These plastics harm in a variety of ways.

Wildlife and sea creatures sometimes mistake plastic waste for food, affecting them when ingested or may be exposed to toxic chemicals found in plastics that can cause biological disruption.

Plastic

Instead of green pastures, urban cattle are subjected to eating garbage.

It is an unequivocal truth that large amounts of plastics have been found in the stomachs of many dead animals. When plastics are ingested, they disrupt or fill the digestive system of animals, thus contributing to their death by blockage or starvation. Cattle roaming the roads are usually found to spend hours in the trash and eat plastic. There are reports of marine animals trapped in plastic waste containing toxic chemicals that can damage the animal’s vital organs ultimately bringing them to the point of no return.

In addition, toxic chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), bisphenol A (BPA), and phthalates from plastics have been linked to medical problems in the endocrine system in general and the hormones thyroxine and calcitonin. The disruption of these secretions is known to affect female reproductive performance and juvenile metabolism.

The most unbearable aspect of plastic is soil pollution. Plastic waste has led to the destruction and degradation of the quality of land surfaces in terms of use, landscape and capacity to support life forms. Primarily, this is because plastics release dangerous chemicals onto disease-breeding grounds and available litter space, thereby reducing areas of productive land. Most plastics also end up in landfills and since they take years to decompose, they pile up, which has significant consequences for the health of plants, people and animals in the surrounding area.

Pollution of groundwater is still the least known hidden evil of an ordinary man. Our municipalities do not have a proper solid waste management plan, which is why tons of waste, including plastic, are dumped in landfills. Dozens of decaying bacteria of fungal species do their job of decomposing, and the dangerous chemicals they contain seep underground when it rains. During the rainy season, chemicals leached out of the plastic are mixed with the ground water table thus creating underground pollution of the very dirty level.

Visit any Kenjhar and Manchhar body of water for example. The edges of the entire lake are polluted with plastic, affecting a large number of aquatic creatures, including migrating birds that roam for miles from the tundra ecosystem to the warm water lakes of Sindh.

Estimates reveal the existence of billions of tonnes of plastics in swirling convergences constituting about 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces and, to everyone’s surprise, the concentration of the problem is increasing every day.

Plastic has also found an indirect route to enter the human body. Reports from India of toxins in cow’s milk led to a Supreme Court ruling in January 2014 aimed at securing the milk supply. Toxins, including dioxins, pass into milk from the plastic ingested by cows, which in India are often on their own and can be found foraging in garbage cans.

There are also reports that we breathe in tiny plastic particles and have no idea what they are doing to us.

Nowadays, everyone is aware of the devastating extent of plastic pollution in landfills, seas and oceans; and the damage this plastic causes to animals that live in and along rivers and seas. We have all seen distressing photos of turtles tied with plastic bottle cages or dead seabirds with stomachs full of plastic, however, I for one was not aware of the extent of plastic pollution in the air. Deposits of these tiny microplastic particles are starting to cover the entire planet. We are creating a plastic planet.

Plastic in Kenjhar Lake

Plastic in Kenjhar Lake

Our governments are the best at the end of the day. A small-scale effort won’t even be a pebble in the pond. There is an urgent need to develop strong and long-term policies to deal with this problem. I would suggest developing a plastic pollution ministry with the responsibility of educating the masses against plastic pollution and using recycled paper packaging to reduce it, if not eliminate it forever. or otherwise, the mass of plastic detritus present in the oceans is so enormous that it is called the “7th continent”. If this continues, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

To be aware. The rate at which tiny plastic microparticles are starting to cover the entire planet. We are literally creating a plastic planet.

Author:  Prof. Dr Abdullah G Arijo Chairman Department of Parasitology Sindh Agriculture University-Pakistan


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