Beware!! Plastic is not something to mess with.
When Alexander Parkes was patenting plastic in the year 1862he would have never thought for a moment that his invention will prove to be a means of creating havoc for the ecosystem of the planet.
Today plastic materials whether it be a container or utensil have made an important place in every household, due to their low cost, versatility and imperviousness to water, they have replaced many traditional materials be it wood, ceramic, leather etc.
So what is causing the Governments of several countries to ban such a wonderful product? Let’s search for the answer in following points.
#1 The Make
Plastic contains toxins, such as phthalates, BPA and flame retardants, Bisphenol A found in plastic bottles and the linings of cans can get into food and drinks, even low-level exposure to BPA results in insulin resistance, which can lead to inflammation and heart disease. Phthalates are used as plasticizers in the manufacture of vinyl flooring and wall coverings, food packaging and medical devices. The European Union has restricted the use of DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) and other phthalates in some applications owing to the fact that leaching from polystyrene food containers have been proposed to interfere with hormone functions and are suspected human carcinogens.
#2 Break down
While breaking down plastic absorbs as well as releases large amount of pollutants into soil and water, components such as DDT, PCB and PAH, moreover it takes a great deal of time to degrade properly adding further complications to the stable ecosystem.
#3 Mass production
It is estimated that global production of plastics is approximately 225 mt/yr. Their abundance has been found to transport persistent organic pollutants also known as POPs. Due to so much plastic material around, the disposal of plastic waste is getting difficult day by day.
This is perhaps the most adverse feature of plastic materials the fact that many of the plastic materials can’t be degraded by nature is in itself is very alarming, because of its non-biodegradability plastic possess a major threat to mother nature, as poisonous and toxic substances releasing from them reaches into food chains, which ultimately harms human beings.
#5 Aquatic life
It is estimated that nearly 165 million tons of plastic material is present in the world’s oceans, plastic that is being delivered into the oceans is toxic to marine life, and humans. The toxins that are components of plastic include diethylhexyl phthalate, which is a toxic carcinogen, as well as lead, cadmium, and mercury.
Plankton, fish, and ultimately the human race, through the food chain, ingest these highly toxic carcinogens and chemicals. Consuming the fish that contain these toxins can cause an increase in cancer, immune disorders, and birth defects
Landmasses are also affected majorly by plastic wastes as when the landfills are created than some of the toxins get seeped into the soil endangering the fertility of soil and quality of crops some of these toxins also get into the groundwater making situation worse, bacteria which acts in these landfills causes release of methane gas which in turn contribute to the green house effect.
Exposure to BPA can disrupt normal, physiological levels of sex hormones such as androgens and estrogens. It does this by binding to globulins that normally bind sex hormones, leading to the disruption of the balance between the two. Bisphenol A affects gene expression related to the thyroid hormone, which affects biological functions such as metabolism and development. Several cancer causing elements have been found in small traces in some of the types of plastics.
Though useful the usage of plastic must be limited, the ban imposed on plastic in several countries is totally justified in the light of the damage that the plastic waste is causing every year, biodegradable plastics must be looked for as the next best alternative option and several reduction options such as Incineration, collection etc. must be practiced for well-being of both humans and our beloved earth.