India, Let’s Stop Our Plastic Madness

February 15, 2017 
author: VIKI VAURORA

 

Look at all these non-biodegradable, highly toxic products that we consume, when the safer alternatives are prohibited. Is this worth caring about?


Take a good look around you right now. Count the number of plastic objects you see.

1...2...3...4...the count will go on. There is a world of plastic around us; right from our toothpaste tubes to water bottles, plastic has become a part of our lives.

Plastic is not exactly biodegradable, i.e. it does not easily break down into its natural elements and mix into the surroundings. It is immortal! The first synthetic plastic was manufactured in 1907 and nearly every bit of plastic made since then is still present on earth.

That's not all...plastic is present in nearly every one of us. It is present in measurable quantities in the water we drink or the food we eat apart from other sources of ingestion.

Plastic is an amazing invention and one of the most convenient solutions to our needs. However, all plastic that is discarded by us usually ends up dumped in landfills and oceans and forests, where it remains for years while everything around it disintegrates.

India generates approximately 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste everyday, out of which 6,000 tonnes is uncollected and littered.

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The plastic waste collected is either DUMPED or BURNED. Both these methods of disposal (dumping and burning) harm the ecosystem and release harmful gases into the atmosphere, which in turn affects our environment and health. The remaining plastic waste which has not been disposed properly (which happens more often than not) gets torn into tiny pieces by the natural elements and is spread over a large area.

 

Let us take a closer look at just how much plastic we have been dumping all over the planet.

 
This is a massive collection of marine debris and garbage, which consists majorly of discarded plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean. The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” was discovered between 1985 and 1988 and has one of the highest known levels of plastic particles floating in the oceans of the world (yes, there are more than one). The tiny particles of plastic, often mistaken by marine creatures for food is causing a decline in the population of marine creatures like sea turtles, causing serious imbalances in the ecosystem.

This is a massive collection of marine debris and garbage, which consists majorly of discarded plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean. The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” was discovered between 1985 and 1988 and has one of the highest known levels of plastic particles floating in the oceans of the world (yes, there are more than one). The tiny particles of plastic, often mistaken by marine creatures for food is causing a decline in the population of marine creatures like sea turtles, causing serious imbalances in the ecosystem.

 
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If you are one of those who feel that environment pollution is best left to environmentalists, then how would you react if we said,

Plastics are not just around us;
they are inside us too!

Yes, you read that right. Plastic is present in nearly every one of us. It is present in measurable quantities in the water we drink or the food we eat apart from other sources of ingestion. Once inside our bodies, they can cause havoc. Chemicals leached from plastics in cooking or storage of food / drinks enter our bodies with ease.

Studies conducted on the effects of plastic have revealed that the constant exposure and use of plastic objects on a daily basis can cause health problems like:

  • Chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities

  • Impaired brain and neurological functions

  • Cardiovascular system damage

  • Adult-onset diabetes

  • Early puberty

  • Obesity

  • Cancer

Think! Think hard!
All this for convenience!

 

What Do We Do?

 

While we may not be able to stop this plastic ‘problem’ overnight, we can definitely start practicing habits that will help in reducing the damage done by plastic in a small yet permanent way.

Using paper bags is a viable option but even these take a toll on our surroundings. Manufacturing paper bags requires a massive amount of trees and energy which have a negative effect on the environment.

Every time you get a free plastic bag, the cost of that bag is passed on to you in the form of higher product price. The production resources involved in the making of plastic also contributes to global warming. Let’s not forget the litter or disposal costs. Safely and efficiently disposing plastic waste is not an easy task nor is it cheap. At the end of the day, you end up paying more taxes to clean up the trash that has been dumped by you!

Does that mean there is no solution?

 

There are many solutions to the plastic problem. Countries worldwide are trying hard to battle the situation.

Some common methods followed are:

  • Minimize usage of plastic products

  • Reuse as much as possible

  • Recycle

There is a lot of deliberation and research going behind ways to reduce the contamination and health hazards caused by plastic. But we are not even close to solving the problem yet.

 

Hemp is the future!

Hemp and plastic!?!
Yes.

Hemp plastic is made from the stalk / stem of the Hemp plant. The high cellulose content of the stalk provides flexibility and strength to the plastic. It is affordable, recyclable and bio-degradable. It can be the answer to the plastic problem looming over our lives.

Plastics, by the virtue of being present in every aspect of our lives, are not usually considered to be a huge threat to the environmental or our health. Bio-plastics ensure that we don't make drastic changes in our lifestyle while keeping the environment clean and ourselves healthy.

Plastics made from hemp are stronger and cheaper than the plastics available today.
Furthermore, the machinery used for manufacturing plastic can be used for hemp plastic too.

So we have an option to produce an alternative to plastic which is completely bio-degradable, 2.5 times stronger than synthetic plastic and poses no risks to us on contact (toxin-free).

Legalisation will not merely improve our environment and economy, but it will allow us to reap the innumerable benefits of this super-crop too!

Let's stand up for the plant!
Let's stand up for our future!

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THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION
TO OUR PLASTIC MENACE.
THIS IS BIO-DEGRADABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY AND NON TOXIC.

HEMP PLASTIC
CAN SAVE OUR EARTH.
BUT WE HAVE TO LEGALISE IT FIRST.

LET'S DESIGN A BETTER FUTURE

Special thanks to,
Danny
Amy
Eshna
Aditya
Anshul
Priya