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12:45 pm | July 13, 2024
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people are immobile without the use of plastic
Aivee Akther Environmental Science

People are immobile without the use of plastic

People are immobile without the use of plastic


Of the 8,300 million tons of plastic produced globally by the end of 2015, 6,300 million tons dispose of after use. Much of this plastic waste is still lying around us, adding to landfills’ height or polluting the environment.

Microplastics were found in the Antarctic iceberg. Plastics are also available in drinking water and deep-sea animals’ stomachs.

Researchers suggest that plastic waste is so widespread that it uses as a geological indicator of the Anthropocene (a new era ushered in by human activity on Earth).

Humans have used resin-like materials made from insects as plastics for thousands of years. However, the plastic we know today started in the 20th century.

Bakelite was the first plastic made from fossil fuels in 1907. However, synthetic plastics outside the military began after World War II. Since then, the production of plastic has increased every year. From two million tons in 1950 to 380 million tons in 2015.

If this rate continues, by 2050, the annual amount of plastic production will be 20 percent of oil production.

Nevertheless, durable plastics are also widely used. Plastics uses in buildings, transportation, and other critical infrastructure, furniture, appliances, TVs, carpets, phones, clothes, and countless everyday items. This means a world without plastic is now an unrealistic fantasy. The situation will be miserable if there is no plastic in the hospital.

Dr Sharon George, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology at Keele University, UK, said, ‘Imagine running a dialysis unit without plastic…’ Gloves, tubes, syringes, blood bags, and sample tubes are all made of plastics. “

According to a study by the BBC, a tonsillectomy operation in a UK hospital generates more than 100 pieces of plastic waste.

Some surgeons, however, argue that hospitals use too much plastic. However, many plastic materials are currently indispensable in medical work; without them, it would be challenging to save a life.

Some everyday plastic materials are essential for health protection. Condoms and diaphragms are on the World Health Organization’s list of essential items. Plastic-based surgical masks, including face masks, respirators for breathing, and reusable masks, have helped reduce the spread of coronavirus.

George said, ‘The mask you carry with you for Covid is about our safety and the safety of others. Failure to do so may result in life-threatening conditions. Without plastic, it will now affect our food system too. Plastics are now essential materials for keeping food safe during transport, reaching supermarket shelves, and marketing.

Dr Eleni Iacovidou , Professor of environmental management at Brunel University in London, said, “I do not know how we can replace plastic from our entire system.

In this case, not only do consumers have to change their habits, but we also have to rethink the packaged products sold in the supermarket supply chain.

Highly perishable farm produce, such as asparagus, green beans, and berries, can decompose in the field without plastic. Open selling of fruits and vegetables might solve the supply chain problem. However, this will require us to make frequent purchases.”

Research by UK waste management charity Wrap has shown that broccoli in plastic packaging can last up to a week in the fridge. Bananas last 1.8 days at room temperature. Food waste can reduce by selling fruits and vegetables openly, they say.

Because people will buy as much as they need. Glass has advantages over plastic—e.g., Glass is endlessly recyclable. However, a one-liter glass bottle weighs 800 grams, while a plastic bottle weighs 40 grams.

If all bottles of milk, fruit juice, and soft drinks changed to Glass, the environmental impact would be more significant than plastic.

Because transporting the same bottles to distant destinations would have to carry hundreds of times more weight. It will also increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions in the same proportion.

We must change our clothes to lead a life without plastic. In 2018, 62 percent of textile fibers produced globally were synthetic and made from petrochemicals.

Although other natural fibers such as cotton and hemp can be good alternatives for clothing, increasing production to meet current demand will have to pay differently.

Cotton is grown on 2.5 percent of the world’s arable land, but 16 percent of that cotton requires pesticides. It is hazardous to farmers’ health and causes water pollution.

To avoid plastic, we must consider sustainable clothing instead of fast-changing fashion before synthetic plastics become prevalent. Many people in the world have many pairs of shoes, and most of them require synthetic plastic. There were 20.5 billion pairs of shoes produced in 2020.

Therefore, it will not be possible to replace all the plastics in the world with something else. We must determine which plastics are unnecessary, avoidable, and cause problems.

Several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific region, are already trying to do so. Going beyond this, it can decide to use only those plastics that are essential in a practical sense.

An idea of which plastics are essential has been presented in a recently published book by George, a lecturer at Keele University in the UK.

He said considering essential needs like food, shelter, or medicine and the impact of reducing or replacing plastic use. According to him, we can see which plastics are essential and which we cannot live without.

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