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Plastic is a well known obsession which is made out of oil by a chemical process. This is light in weight and is used to make different objects. Since 1852, the discovery of plastic by Alexender Parkes, it has become an irrefutable part of human life. Plastic bags are made of a petroleum product which is known as polythene. The shopping bag which we get from the super market is a good example of plastic which almost everyone uses daily. Around 90% of grocery bags are made of plastic. This small and light object creates an huge impact on the environment and as well as its inhabitants. These impacts are being discussing from long ago, yet the usage is not affected much.
How many? Why is it an environmental hazard?
Plastic bags are very familiar with both retailers as well as the customers. This is because plastic bags are cheap to produce, easy to carry, abundant in supply etc. It is a hygienic means of carrying food and other goods. Annualy almost one hundred billion plastic bags are being used in United States of America itself. Its being thrown away on to road, garbage area, parks, waterways and beaches, due to the excess supply and low cost. As a result, our landscape gets messed. And when these bags are burned out, it produces a toxic substances leading to air pollution.
Approximately 70% of the world is covered with water. Throwing bags creates a massive impact on our marine eco system. Thrown bags can wash up to thousands and thousands of miles of coastline.
Plastic bags are non-biodegradable which remains forhundreds of years . Each year around 100,000 animals are killed due to plastic bags. Including the turtles, dolphins, whales and penguins . Mostly the death occurs due to the ingestion of bags, which they consume as their food.
As mentioned before, plastic bags are made of polythene which is a petroleum product. Petroleum is lacking its quantity by each passing day. Due to this the whole world is in search of renewable energy. This petroleum is vital for our day to day life. If the petroleum vanishes, it will nearly freeze the whole modern world. Therefore a crucial thing should not be misused in producing harmful substances.
To overcome the environmental hazard-how?
One way to prevent this environmental hazard is recycling or reusing it. By doing this disposition of these bags to soil and water bodies will be reduced. Photodegradation is a chemical process used to disgrace plastic bags. But during this process appearance of small toxic forms which causes high impact on our environment. However, by reusing the plastic saves our environment from those substances. To carry out this process, a huge ground is needed where there will be no any harm to biotic life.
In addition to this, one of the simplest things each individual can do is carrying out their own bag to the market. It should be made out of a material which is not harmful to our environment and biodegradable. This can be done by keeping few folded bags, so that whenever something is needed we can acquire it. Some people feel difficult and useless to carry their own bags with them. It is important to provide awareness programs and educate those thinkers. Plus to encourage and motivate those citizens, using their own bags, which is also inspiring for others to do so.
Moreover using a substitute like liquid wood (named as arboform) can be helpful. It is a thermoplastic prepared by using natural fibers, wax and lignin (which is non toxic, rich in renewable source and can be degradable). Arboform is made by using the waste materials of paper factories. However, the carbon dioxide released due to the usage of arboform remains unaffected as it discharges the same amount of carbon dioxide which a plant leaves into the atmosphere. Arboform can be discarded like woods and before disposal it does not need any difficult process to change its chemical position.
LETS BE THE CHANGE!
The planet we live is shared with number of living creatures. A single bag which we throw can remain somewhere on the earth for around thousand years.Which can be disasterous. If each and every single individual practice simple tasks like carrying own disposable shopping bags, reusing bags, moving on substitutes can make a vast difference on plastic bag consumption. As Mahathma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”