November was truly a fantastic month so far because of the United States Election. People were getting bored staying at home and this election gave us a chance to talk about and gossip something new, other than that of the coronavirus news with your family, friends, neighbors or colleagues. That was quite a suspenseful first week of November. “Trump Vs Biden” We saw this title in every news channels. While this intense battle was going on, everyone was watching with interest and quite frankly speaking, world eyes were placed on this topic. Some other news didn’t get much screen time because of election news.
“Plant Vs Plastic” battle is going on for about a couple of years. But while Joe Biden and Donald Trump were quite close in electoral votes,in this battle, plastic is dominating the battle.
As a child, I played a game named “Plant Vs Zombie”. This was a fun game; protecting your lawn from zombies and your soldiers were some colorful plants. The moral of that game might be ” Plants are your protecting pal from disaster.” This may not be of understanding to some people but now a days, this game is reminding me this moral everyday.
In developed economies, about a third of plastic is used in packaging and roughly the same in buildings in applications such as piping, plumbing or vinyl siding. Other uses include automobiles (up to 20% plastic), furniture, and toys. In the developing world, the applications of plastic may differ 42% of India’s consumption is used in packaging.
Worldwide, about 50 kg of plastic is produced annually per person, with production doubling every ten years.~Wikipedia
Plastic became popular in the mid 90s prominently in 1979. Single-use plastic shopping bags first became available in the U.S. in 1979. In 1982, two of the largest grocery store chains in the country, Safeway and Kroger, began offering single-use plastic bags to their customers.(Wikipedia,Sep 13, 2018) Because of the cheap price is it quite popular among people.
But, the biggest drawback of plastic is it’s ability to not degrade easily.
Soils are earth’s surface that can break many things into molecules but, not plastic! Most plastics in use today are made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET for short, and are nearly indestructible. It is nearly impossible to decompose PET plastics because most bacteria cannot break them down. UV light from the sun can break plastic down, but it takes a long time.(Colombia tribune,Jan 7, 2019)
Although it is a little relief that according to a Swidish research,bacteria and fungi in the soil are able to comprehensively break down some types of plastic, but not others. It contains ester bonds that can be broken down by enzymes produced by bacteria and fungi found in the soil.(Jul 26, 2018).
So, as soils can’t breakdown plastic, we can’t get rid of the useless plastic by burying them!
So, what about burning them?
That’s gonna work, right? Not really. When plastic is burned, it releases dangerous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, dioxins, furans and heavy metals, as well as particulates. These emissions are known to cause respiratory ailments and stress human immune systems, and they’re potentially carcinogenic.(wiki,Mar 12, 2013)
Then, can we drown them?
Water isn’t capable of destroying plastic either. Throwing them into ocean can make them float most of the time. But I am not throwing them in the ocean,right? I am throwing them in the streets or dust bin. Don’t know about you guys but I live miles off the ocean by the way, I live in Dhaka,the capital city of Bangladesh. Even if you live hundreds of miles from the coast, the plastic you throw away could make its way into the sea. Once in the ocean, plastic decomposes very slowly.
Breaking down in to tiny pieces known as micro plastics that can be incredibly damaging to sea lifewwf.org.uk
But what does that really mean? Where is it coming from? Mainly from the beach sides, trash bins, from ships and so on!
I talked a lot about plastics, I am fed up by the way! Now, we can at least guess plastics is doing us much bad than good. Thousands and billions of plastics are used and thrown away every day. It is harming our planet every millisecond.
Our protectors, let’s look at how they look like- they are green, they come in every size and shape! They give us Oxygen, clears the air by taking carbon dioxide, gives us shade from the sun, gives us vegetables, fruits, serve as meal for bacteria, animals, birds even people, they can give herbal medicine for treating our diseases, we make our home from plants, furniture and what not! Plants can strengthen soils and save us from natural disasters. It helps to keep balance between nature and weather. Is it not our duty to create many such protectors?
Then why are we not creating any defense against Plastics?
We can refuse plastics, can’t we? We can protest against using plastics, can’t we? We can recycle them, can’t we? We can do many things to reduce such effects of plastics and rebalance our nature. But, at the same time, we are cutting down trees instead of planting them.
In 2007,3.5 billion to 7 billion trees cut down each year. Yes, many trees are planted everyday as well but it’s not adequate.Author
How to reuse, recycle and reduce plastic usage?
We can do simple things everyday. We get plastic even if we don’t want to. We get plastic cases when buying biscuits or fruits or eggs. We can reuse them instead of throwing them away. My father is using such cases as pots to plant trees. He collects two or three same size cases and increases the strength of the case and then fill it with soil and then plant seeds. Bottles can also be used in the same way. In fact you can use it to keep things like pen, knife etc. How to use them is up to you. Think out of the box! Stop taking plastic bags and ask for biodegradable bags or Jute bags that are quite useful but international and national market are promoting plastic bags. You can make a change. If you refuse plastic bags, one bag will be less used. If millions of people refuse them, then millions of bags will be less used.
You want to lead a healthy life then you need to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and water. Who doesn’t know this? But many does not know that plastics are crazily inflicting your perfect vegetarian diet chart by lessening the nutritional values of plants. Now because of the pandemic situation, people are motivated to take gardening as hobby which impacted our nature greatly. Also, people are trying to maintain a balanced body to keep themselves safe from coronavirus.
Plastic is not all bad but the bad effects are not lessened by people because of ignorance and lack of agenda issues.Author
Lastly, Don’t just play PUBG! Use your brain to take part in Plant Vs Plastic as well! Actions speak louder than words! Be safe, keep safe, plant trees lots and lots!