Effects of polythene bags

(Rida naeem, Karahi)

This article provides information about Plastic hazards!

Plastic is widely used in our day to day life. Starting from a pen to a polythene bag in which we carry fruits and books are forms of plastic. Though convenient in our day to day use, it has posed an alarming threat to the environment.

Plastic is non-biodegradable and do not decay by biological actions of microbes. They remain in the same state as we throw them. So, dumps or garbages are created making our cities and soil polluted.

To destroy plastics, we can either recycle or burn them. If we burn plastic, they emit harmful chemical gases like carbon dioxide (CO,), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (NO), methane (CH4), sulphur dioxides (SO2), etc. These gases pollute our environment, though in negligible content, they add to green house effect and endanger our environment.

The wastes of plastic block pipes and sanitary lines so that dirty water came out on roads. This cause fear of malaria, cholera and other diseases.

The wastes of plastic bags, bottles, etc. are drawn to a sea or an ocean by rivers and they are deposited in them. They pollute and disturb the eco-system of the sea or the ocean.

Due to wide scale use of plastic, water, soil and air pollutions are caused. These polluted components of environment lead to imbalance of various ecosystem of the Earth.
The land litter that is made up of plastic bags has the potential to kill over and over again. It has been estimated that one bag has the potential to unintentionally kill one animal per every three months due to unintentional digestion or inhalation. If you consider the number of littered plastic bags ranges from 1.5 million to 3 million depending on location, this equals a lot of ecosystem sustaining lives lost.

Without the balance of the ecosystem food sources dry up and starvation occurs. With an increase in plastic bag use throughout the world, the eventual effects could be literally devastating even to the human population.

While it's a noble thought to place the plastic bags in the recycling bin every week, studies have proven that there are very few plants that actually recycle them. Most municipalities either burn them or send them off to the landfill after sorting. This is because it can be expensive to recycle this type of plastic. It doesn't melt down easily and is often not realistically able to be reused from its original form without considerable overhaul to the facility.

The premise of recycling these bags is nice. Yet funding for the upgrades just has not happened and thus less than 1% of all bags sent to recycling plants world wide end up in the recycling project. Most are left to become a pollution problem in one way or another.

There are always alternatives to plastic bags and the search for more alternatives continues. Paper bags are a possible option but they also take their toll on the environment. The use of trees to increase the production of paper products combined with the increased energy that is required to make paper bags will also have a negative environmental effect.

Reusable plastic bags are being introduced to regions that want to outlaw the plastic bag altogether. These are stronger and more durable and can be used for three to five trips to the store.

Of course, the reusable cloth bag is fast becoming a favorite among environmental supporters. While thus far no bag is without its issues these are the bags that are currently recommended for use to help protect environmental concerns.

Only solution to this plastic hazard is to take preventive measures and for that,

a. To reduce use of plastic wherever possible

b. To use recyclable bags and things

c. To recycle the used plastic

d. Not to throw used plastic here and there

e. To collect the used plastic by the Government and then to recycle them

f. Only recyclable plastics should be allowed to use

g. Some legal norms should be declared

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