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Plastics are used on a daily basis throughout the world. The word plastic is a common term that is used for many materials of a synthetic or semi-synthetic nature. The term was derived from the Greek plastikos, which means “fit for molding. ” Plastics are a wide variety of combinations of properties when viewed as a whole. They are used for shellac, cellulose, rubber, and asphalt. We also synthetically manufacture items such as clothing, packaging, automobiles, electronics, aircrafts, medical supplies, and recreational Items. The list could go on and on and It Is bvious that much of what we have today would not be possible without plastics.
Introdutlon of plastic pollution Plastic Is one of the few new chemical materials which pose environmental problem. Polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene is largely used in the manufacture of plastics. Synthetic polymers are easily molded into complex shapes, have high chemical resistance, and are more or less elastic. Some can be formed into fibers or thin transparent films. These properties have made them popular in many durable or disposable goods and for packaging materials. These materials have molecular eight ranging from several thousands to 1, 50,000.
Excessive molecular size seems to be mainly responsible for the resistance of these chemicals to biodegradation and their persistence in soil environment for a long time. Plastic in the environment is regarded to be more an aesthetic nuisance than a hazard, since the material is biologically quite inert. The plastic industry in the IJS alone is $ 50 billion per year and is obviously a tempting market for biotechnological enterprises. Biotechnological processes are being developed as an alternative to existing route or to get new biodegradable biopolymers. 20% of solid municipal astes in US is plastic.
Non-degradable plastics accumulate at the rate of 25 million tones per year. According to an estimate more than 100 million tones of plastic Is produced every year all over the world. In India it Is only 2 million tones. In India use of plastic is 2 kg per person per year while in European countries it Is 60 kg per person per year while that in US It Is 80 kg per person per year. Causes of plastic pollution due to bags, Bottles Plastics are used because they are easy and cheap to make and they can last a long time. unfortunately these same useful qualltles can make plastic a huge pollution roblem.
Because the plastic Is cheap It gets discarded easily and Its persistence In the environment can do great harm. Urbanization has added to the plastic pollution In concentrated form In clues. Plastic thrown on land can enter Into drainage lines and chokes them resulting Into floods In local areas In cltles as experienced In Mumbai, India in 1998. It was claimed in one of the programmes on TV Channel that of one dead cow, as much as 35 kg of plastic was found. Because plastic does not decompose, and requires high energy ultra-violet light to break down, the amount of lastic waste in our oceans is steadily increasing.
More than 90% of the articles found on the sea beaches contained plastic. The plastic rubbish found on beaches near urban areas tends to originate from use on land, such as packaging material used to wrap around other goods. On remote rural beaches the rubbish tends to have come from ships, such as fishing equipment used in the fishing industry. This plastic can affect marine wildlife in two important ways: by entangling creatures, and by being eaten. Turtles are particularly badly affected by plastic pollution, and all seven of the world’s turtle species are lready either endangered or threatened for a number of reasons.
Turtles get entangled in fishing nets, and many sea turtles have been found dead with plastic bags in their stomachs. Turtles mistake floating transparent plastic bags for Jellyfish and eat them. In one dead turtle found off Hawaii in the Pacific more than 1000 pieces of plastic were found in the stomach. A recent US report concluded that more than 100000 marine mammals die each year in the world’s oceans by eating or becoming entangled in plastic rubbish, and the position is worsening World-wide, 75 marine bird species are known to eat plastic articles. This includes 36 species found off South Africa.
A recent study of blue petrel chicks at South Africa’s remote Marion Island showed that 90% of chicks examined had plastic in their stomachs apparently fed to them accidentally by their parents. South African seabirds are among the worst affected in the world. Plastics may remain in the stomachs, blocking digestion and possibly causing starvation. Conclusion Of Plastic Pollution Thus, while tackling the issues related to environmental protection and cleanliness, we started with attack on symptoms rather than causes of pollution (Measurement of ollution and Treatment technologies).
Then subsequently we gave stress on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and could work on better planning and better control. And today we have started to attack the root cause of pollution – prevention of pollution. We are talking about clean technologies. We are aiming for biodegradable and ecofriendly products and processes. Bioplastics is only a part of the large efforts that we are determined to make. Bioplastics is a reality and is a practical truth. Our willingness and improvement in technologies will give it a wider success.