B'luru generates 40 tonnes of plastic every day: Report

'Production of plastic bags consumes millions of gallons of oil'

B'luru generates 40 tonnes of plastic every day: Report

Plastic is one of the few modern chemical materials that is not biodegradable. It is made of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene, which are the composition base in the manufacture of plastics.

These synthetic polymers are easily moulded into complex shapes and have high chemical resistance.

Because of these properties, they are used to manufacture several durable or disposable goods and for packaging materials, an NGO, To Make A Difference (TMAD), which is working in the area of plastics and alternatives to plastic, has stated in a report.

Plastic is resistant to biodegradation. Bengaluru generates roughly 40 tonnes of plastic waste per day. Plastic kills thousands of marine mammals every year that mistake the floating bags for food.

Plastic bags that get buried in landfills may take up to 1,000 years to break down and in the process they separate into smaller and smaller toxic particles that contaminate soil and water. Furthermore, the production of plastic bags consume millions of gallons of oil that could be used for fuel and heating, says the NGO’s report.

“The average human in India uses three kg of plastic per person per year. That’s far lower than the Europeans who consume 60 kg per year, and the Americans who consume 80 kg. Because we are so populous, the amount of plastic consumed is mindboggling and our disposal habits make it a health hazard.”

That’s one reason why drains get clogged in Bengaluru during the rains. Bengaluru’s open stormwater drains are invariably filled with all sorts of junked plastic, milk sachets, mineral water bottles, grocery bags, empty plastic cans and containers.

Paper bags, which many people consider a better alternative to plastic bags, carry their own set of environmental problems. For example, according to the American Forest and Paper Association, in 1999, the U.S. alone used 10 billion paper grocery bags, which adds up to a lot of trees, says TMAD’s report. But if both paper and plastic bags won’t do, then how do you get your groceries home?

The answer, according to many environmentalists, is high-quality reusable shopping bags made of materials that don’t harm the environment during production and don’t need to be discarded after each use.

What is bio-degradable?
Materials that “breakdown and decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short amount of time when they are exposed to air, moisture and bacteria or other organisms” are defined as “biodegradable.”

Experts estimate that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed and discarded annually worldwide.

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