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(YorkPedia Editorial):- New Delhi, Jun 10, 2020 (Issuewire.com) – Press release on webinar to bring a change in Plastic usage
A Webinar was organized on 17th April 2020 on the increasing rates of plastic pollution and how its consumption can be stopped. It was hosted by Dr. Madushree Banerjee Senior Consultant at The World Bank.
This webinar was organised by Debshata Choudhury, Gurmaan Singh Sandhu, Garv Gupta, Aayushi Dasgupta, Snigdha Goel, Hrehaan Ahuja and Pratyush Saini. The webinar started with the history of plastic and ended with a positive note on how we can start plastic waste management at our homes.
World production of plastic has risen exponentially: from 2.3 million tons in 1950; it grew to 162 million in 1993 and to 448 million by 2015.
However, on a global scale, it’s the world’s poorest populations who are most affected. In addition, they also most contribute to the pollution of the earth’s oceans.
Origin of Plastic
- In 1907 the invention of Plastic was invented by a Belgian born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland in 1907
- Bakelite, the compound that forms plastic, is based on a chemical combination of phenol and formaldehyde (phenol-formaldehyde resin)
- Bakelitebrought about a revolution in materials by introducing truly synthetic plastic resins into world commerce.
- Due to their low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, and imperviousness to water, plastics are used in a multitude of products of different scale, including paper clips and spacecraft. They have prevailed over traditional materials, such as wood, stone, none, ceramic, leather etc.
Why plastic pollutes?
Estimates for how long it takes plastic to break down into its constituent molecules range from 450 years to never. It takes 1000 years to decompose into smaller pieces, which seep down into the soil and release chemicals, which eventually reach the water supply.
- Clogs drainage system and creates floods
- Apparently according to one research plastics at oceans are actually degrading and releasing toxic chemicals and causing water pollution
How does plastic cause pollution?
- Ground water pollution: If we do not take care of plastic waste properly, we end up drinking it one way or the other. For example, landfills are full of hazardous chemicals that go deeper and deeper into the ground every time it rains.
- Causes Floods: All those plastic bags, bottles and other objects eventually end up in canals, water reservoirs and drain. After some time, they become partially or completely clogged and can’t deal with a huge surge of water, thus increasing risks of causing great material damage and even losing lives.
- Breeding of Mosquitoes: Needless to say, whenever water is prevented from flowing as it is supposed to, pools are forming and with the perfect conditions for swarming of mosquitoes and other insects. A big concentration of mosquitoes is commonly connected to spreading diseases.
- Soil Contamination: China has admitted that 19% of its agricultural land is polluted. Australia, too, has declared that around 80,000 sites are classified as contaminated.
- Marine Deaths: Shockingly, between 10 and 20 million tons of plastic waste get into the oceans one way or the other. What is especially worrying is the emergence of the before mentioned microplastics. These particles end up in stomachs of fish and other creatures, all the way to our stomachs
- Animal Deaths: Plastic is estimated to kill millions of animals every year as animals mistakenly eat them as food.
What we can do?
- Avoid the worst plastic offenders
If you check the bottom of any plastic container, you’ll see a number (1 through 7) inside a triangle made of arrows. The worst plastics are:
#3 – Polyvinyl Chloride, an extremely toxic plastic that contains dangerous additives such as lead and phthalates and is used in plastic wrap, some squeeze bottles, peanut butter jars, and children’s toys
#6 – Polystyrene, which contains styrene, a toxin for the brain and nervous system, and is used in Styrofoam, disposable dishes, take-out containers, plastic cutlery
#7 – Polycarbonate/Other category, which contains bisphenol A and is found in most metal food can liners, clear plastic sippy cups, sport drink bottles, juice and ketchup containers
- Use non-plastic containers
Carry a reusable water bottle and travel mug wherever you go. Pack your lunch in glass (Mason jars are wonderfully versatile), stainless steel, stacking metal tiffin, cloth sandwich bags, a wooden Bento box, etc. Take reusables to the supermarket, farmers’ market, or wherever you’re shopping, and have them weighed before filling.
- Never drink bottled water
Instead, carry your own metal re-usable bottle
Shop in bulk
The more items you can buy in bulk, the more you’ll save in packaging
- Avoid frozen convenience foods
Convenience foods are among the worst culprits for excessive packaging waste. Frozen foods come wrapped in plastic and packaged in cardboard, which is often lined with plastic, too.
- Avoid non-stick cookware
Don’t expose yourself and your family to toxic perfluorochemicals that are released when non-stick surfaces such as Teflon are heated. Replace with cast iron (which works just as well as non-stick if seasoned and cared for properly), stainless steel, or copper cookware.
- Use natural cloths instead of plastic scrubbers
If you need something with scrubbing power, go for copper instead of plastic. Use a cotton dishcloth or a coconut coir brush for dishes, instead of a plastic scrub brush. Use cotton facecloths instead of disposable wipes. Don’t underestimate the versatility of old rags!
Keep your laundry routine plastic-free
Use soap flakes, soap strips, or soap nuts instead of conventional laundry detergents that come in plastic-lined cardboard with plastic scoops or thick plastic jugs
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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.