Planet technology

Earth: a plastic planet

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

By Teacher. Dr Abdullah G Arijo

This seems like a test for federal and provincial governments to accomplish what they talk a lot about in the name of the eye-catching commodity “Plastic Pollution.” Although very slow, the initiative has emerged in the capital Islamabad, while CM Sindh has announced that his dream will 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 little respect for the law. 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 hit where it hurts the most.

Made by Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian-born American scientist living in New York State, the first synthetic polymer plastic was made from phenol and formaldehyde in 1907, but until the 1960s, plastics were just beginning to become popular. However, polyethylene, which is now one of the most common plastics in the world, was 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 undergoes purification. Thus, the drop or rise in the price of oil directly affects the cost of manufacturing new plastic products, including bags and bottles.

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

Plastics are a non-renewable form of energy and disposing of them involves burning the product, which leads to air pollution as toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere during combustion. Also, when this 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 posed by plastic has caused greater impacts on the environment by adding a share in CFC gases, which in turn are a major cause of ozone layer depletion which is a major cause of global warming.

Global industry analysts conclude that global plastic consumption in the world was around 260 million tonnes in 2008, and was estimated at over 300 tonnes in 2015. These plastics cause harm in a variety of ways.

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

Plastic

Instead of green pastures, urban livestock 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. Livestock roaming the roads are commonly seen spending hours on garbage and eating plastic. There are reports of marine animals being 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 leaching from plastics have been linked to medical problems with the endocrine system in general and the hormones thyroxine and calcitonin. 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 decline in the quality of the earth’s land surfaces in terms of use, landscape and ability to support life forms. Primarily, this is because plastics release dangerous chemicals onto breeding grounds and available litter, reducing areas of productive land. Most plastics also end up in landfills, and because they take years to break down, they accumulate, with significant health consequences for nearby plants, people and animals.

The pollution of groundwater is still a hidden evil unknown to ordinary mortals. Our municipalities do not have an adequate solid waste management plan, which is why tons of waste, including plastic, is dumped in landfills. Rotting bacteria, dozens of species of fungi, do their job of decomposing and the dangerous chemicals they contain seep underground when it rains. During the rainy season, the chemicals leached from the plastic are mixed with the water table creating underground pollution of the very dirty level.

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

Estimates reveal the existence of billions of tons of plastics in swirling convergences making up around 40% of the globe’s ocean surfaces and, surprisingly, 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 attempting to secure the milk supply. Toxins, including dioxins, pass into milk from plastic ingested by cows, which in India are often left to fend for themselves and end up feeding in garbage cans.

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

Nowadays, everyone is aware of the devastating extent of plastic pollution in landfills and the seas and oceans; and the damage this plastic causes to animals that live in and along rivers and seas. We’ve all seen distressing photos of turtles tied up with plastic box holders or dead seabirds with stomachs full of plastic, but I for one was unaware of the extent of plastic pollution. in the air. Deposits of these tiny microplastic particles are beginning 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 lip service. A small-scale effort won’t even be a pebble in the pond. There is an urgent need to develop strong, long-term policies to deal with this problem. I would suggest developing a plastic pollution ministry with responsibility for mass awareness against plastic pollution and the use of recycled paper packaging to reduce it or even eliminate it forever. or else, 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 microparticles of plastic begin 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