What are Plastic Bags?
We all have heard how plastic bags are boon to the mankind and how it has replaced all other types of bags like the paper bags and metal containers or cardboard box containers, etc.
It is cheap and therefore, can be affordable to the poorest person to carry home their groceries instead of buying the paper or reusable bags.
We use plastic in our daily lives to such an extent that it has become like an essential part of our life. We use plastic bags to carry our groceries, in plastic containers, etc.
Also, there are things like the comb, talcum powder container, etc. which are made of plastic, but we hardly ever realize that, we use plastic in its different forms as well as in different ways.
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Why should we ban Plastic Bags ?
There are many other uses of plastic bags and containers, then why do we need to ban them? It is a very valid question considering the extent of use of plastic in our daily lives.
The major drawback of plastic is that it is not bio-degradable.
That means that it cannot decompose in the soil with the help of the micro-organisms present in the soil.
This leads to accumulation of the waste plastics bags in the environment.
In a single day there might be at least 5-6 bags being used by an individual in Mumbai.
If we do further calculation then the number of plastic bags being used in a day by our whole country will go more than a hundred billion per day.
This much amount of plastic is very hazardous for all the living beings on this Earth. Plastic bags are made up of polythene which is a polymer of ethylene.
Ethylene is an organic compound and biodegradable but its polymer is not which creates a problem.
Is Plastic production pollute?
Production of plastic is very costly. The monomer used for making plastic is ethylene but it is obtained from burning of fossil fuels and natural gas which are non-renewable sources and depleting rapidly.
The burning of such fossil fuels gives out a lot of smoke containing toxic substances and chlorofluorocarbons which contribute highly to the Global Warming.
Therefore, production of plastic also causes pollution which is almost equal to the amount of pollution caused by the plastic bag itself.
Adverse effects of plastic on the plants and animals
Plastic is harmful to the human body as well as the animals and the plants.
The amount of plastic being dumped every day is very large and it just forms layers and layers of plastic in the dumping ground without any decomposition.
When plastic is buried in the forest or any ocean, it will just form a layer and make them look ugly.
The greenery of the forest will be lost as well as the oceans will have a big spot or patch of the plastic waste.
The Pacific Ocean has a large amount of plastic waste in it which is growing day by day.
Plastic is dumped in the forest or in the seas and oceans.
The problem in this dumping practice is that the animals in the forest and the aquatic animals of the ocean might misunderstand these plastic bags as food and ingest it.
This will lead to the choking of the animals therefore, resulting in the death of the animals.
The plastic is sometimes buried into the soil but this is toxic instead of being helpful for decomposition.
The plastic breaks down into its toxic components at a very slow rate and these toxic parts remain in the soil as it is.
These toxic parts will definitely affect the plants growing in that soil and therefore, hindering the proper growth of the plants.
Such a situation is very hazardous as it will reduce the number of animals and aquatic life on the Earth and therefore, disturbing the ecological cycle and ultimately causing the death of all the animals on the Earth.
Are humans affected by plastic?
Plastic is also hazardous to the humans as the human babies can die due to ingestion of plastic bags. The use of plastic by the humans is a major reason of environmental pollution due to plastic.
We often use plastic bags or plastic bottles to store hot liquids like hot water or tea or coffee.
But this is very dangerous as some of the components of plastic melt at a slightly higher temperature of the liquid and thus, mixing or dissolving in the liquid.
This liquid when is ingested by the individual will indirectly allow the toxic component of plastic to enter the body.
This toxic component can be carcinogenic or cause other mutations in the genome causing other fatal diseases (changes) in the human body.
The effect of plastic on the sewage system
The accumulation of plastic in the environment is well-known by all. But while dumping these plastic bags, some of them are also dumped in the sewage system.
For example, flushing the plastic bags or used sanitary napkins which are made of plastic into the toilet will lead to accumulation of such plastic in the drainage pipes.
Also, these plastic materials will block the further flow of the waste water and disrupt the sewage and drainage system.
The cities or coastal regions of India receive heavy rainfall every year.
If the sewage and drainage system is blocked due to plastic waste it is obviously going to affect the flow of rainwater through the drainage system and therefore, not allowing the rainwater to reach the oceans.
This can cause floods in the major cities like Mumbai as it receives heavy rainfall during the Monsoons. Such are the effects of plastic which cannot be avoided.
Major steps should to be taken to spread awareness about plastic hazards and also to promote the ban of plastic all over the country.
We have valid and grave reasons to ban plastic, but we do not have a proper alternative which can replace plastic completely.
Also, there is no proper awareness about the hazardous nature of plastic to the ecosystem and hence, we are still using plastic.
Banning the use of plastic materials will be a major step towards making the people aware about the hazards of plastic as well as promoting the use of various replacements for plastic.
For example, we can use cloth or jute bags to carry our groceries, steel containers to store things and many other biodegradable or recyclable bags and containers to replace plastic.
Even when we are aware of the plastic hazards we do not stop using them because we do not have the proper replacements available in the market which can be used to replace plastic.
Therefore, along with banning the plastic we should also start accepting the other alternatives of plastic.