By Hamim Nazir
As we have came across ages of plastic use, we know that plastic is not good for our environment. Plastic usage is one of the most raised human health and environmental concerns. Plastic constitutes nearly third highest wastes in the world and the number is growing.
In Malaysia, plastic manufacturing industry has one of the highest growth rates since 2000. With over 1,300 plastic manufacturers, Malaysia has one of the largest plastic production industries in the world. Malaysian household waste generation ranges from 0.85 to 1.5 kg per day, and the main way of plastic disposal is by landfilling or burning, which is another concern.
If we talk globally the world is full of plastic. In the Pacific Ocean, there is an island called garbage island which is nothing, but an island formed due to plastic disposal in the Ocean and is causing problems to marine life.
In Hawaii, 250,000 feet of beach was cleaned, plastic debris were removed and that was because of a donation plan where people contributed towards a clean environment. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Department projected that each year 8 million tons of plastic debris end up in the ocean. Only about 9 percent of plastic is recycled. 12 percent is burned and the remaining 79 percent ends up in landfills or the rest of the environment.
There are approximately 5 trillion plastic pieces roaming in our ocean which is enough to circle the Earth over 400 times A few countries like Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom export their plastic wastes to other countries in Africa and Asia giving their problems to other countries.
Scientists documented that around 700 marine species have been affected by plastic wastes and up to 9 of 10 sea birds, 1 in 3 turtles and more than half of whales and dolphins have ingested plastics, which is a huge number. The deepest point in the world Mariana trench where crustaceans make a living also have ingested plastics, which seems unreal because plastic pollution has reached the deepest point in the world!
If we look at all this and then think, what made this happen?
The answer is simple. Humans. We did it ourselves to our planet. Plastic production has reached 322 million tons since 1950s and is projected that the number will double by 2025. Drink companies produce over 500 billion plastic bottles and a well-known coffee company produces 4 billion coffee cups each year!
Wit all these plastic problems we are faced with, it does not mean that we cannot reverse the effect it has caused. We still have time to make our environment clean by replacing the plastics with something which is bio-degradable like polylactic acid-based blends, cellulose based plastics, bioPE.
These are called bioplastics, they do not cause any harm to the environment. We need to make people aware of this situation through social media or other publicity platforms. The best thing we can do is to plant a tree for the sake of our planet.
We caused it, therefore we are the ones who should be taking steps to reverse the effect. It is never too late.***