Banning Plastic Use
Plastics are materials manufactured through the use of either synthetic or semi-synthetic material. Plastics can be molded into various shapes and sizes for different purposes. The main types of plastics manufactured and used across the world are thermoplastics and thermosets. The word plastic is an English word that is derived from the Greek word plastiko which means the ability to be molded or reshaped. The composite material of plastics is a basic organic polymer combination with high molecular mass. The structural composition of plastics may sometimes include other materials intended to provide an improvement in the plastics characteristics such as strength, texture, or color. Most of the raw material requirements in the manufacture of plastics comes from natural gas and petroleum. This paper purposes to discuss the issue of plastic use advocating why it should be aborted. This will include a description of what a plastic is, the adverse impacts of the use of plastics, the steps that can be taken to mitigate against the plastic use and disposal challenges and various smart functions and ideas innovated against plastic use. The aim of the discussion is providing a convincing argument towards a global abortion on plastic use.
The essence of development means the production of various products and mechanisms to make life better and easier. Plastics are materials developed and reshaped into different shapes for different uses. They are a part and parcel of the daily lives of people across the globe. It is one of the most widely used and accepted products for the manufacture of various packaging materials for goods. The invention of plastics many years ago was a welcomed idea though today it represents a risk to the survival of the world. The use of plastics has over the years compounded to a great level of environmental pollution. The current state of global warming is attributed to many polluting agents with plastics being amongst the top polluters. The intrusion of plastics into the daily lives has made people dependent on them as they are involved in the simplest activities. Plastics are used in the manufacture of packaging products, jewelry, electronic devices, and the mobile phones amongst others.
One major adverse effect of the use of plastics is the issue of pollution. Plastic is a product that takes a very long time to decompose because it is a non-biodegradable product. As a result, most plastic product wastes are normally dumped in the environment and they linger on for thousands of years without degrading. Many plastic wastes are disposed off on land and some find its way into water bodies such as rivers and oceans, thus, polluting these bodies. In other cases, plastic wastes are burnt to remove them from the environment or to use them as fuels. The adverse effect of this on the environment is even worse because it directly produces greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases then directly contribute to the global warming phenomenon.
The health effects of plastics on human beings and animals provide a major cause for concern on sustainable living. Plastics have been linked to the onset of various chronic diseases such as cancer and other respiratory tract conditions. The manufacture of plastics uses elements that makes them rich in some toxic chemical elements that when ingested can lead to diseases. Chemical elements included in some plastics are carcinogens like diethylhexyl phthalate, lead, and mercury amongst others. These chemicals can be ingested into the body through various ways such as the use of plastic cups and even chewing on plastic materials.
In the case of animals, plastic materials when injected can cause internal digestive problems that can cause death. As established, plastics are non-biodegradable and can, thus, remain in existence for thousands of years. When ingested by animals, plastics can be broken down into small pieces that remain in the stomach and intestines. Over time, they can accumulate to a point of causing a blockage which without surgical removal causes the death of the animal. At the same time, when such materials remain in the intestines of such animals, they slowly leak their chemical compounds into the body of the animal. The result is the development of diseases to the animals that lead to underproduction or death. Furthermore, when such chemicals permeate into the flesh of animals they can be transmitted to people when they inject underdone meat from such animals. This will transfer the risks to developing diseases to the person.
Dealing with the issue of plastics can be though three options; abortion, recycling, reduction. The abortion on the use of plastics would encompass totally ending the manufacture and use of plastics. Implementing such a move would require enactment of legal policies and regulations against the manufacture and use of plastics. A challenge in this exists as policy regulations are the responsibility of each country and none can enforce it on another. It means that if some refuse due to the economic benefits they gain from plastics it cannot be forced on them. However, forming international treaties could establish a solution for this challenge.
Given that plastics have a basic structure, they, therefore, can be reformed into different shapes for different uses. This makes the recycling of plastics a very possible aspect. Plastic wastes can be collected together and returned to recycling factory where they can be melted down and remolded into different new forms of products. At the individual level they can also be recycled by changing the use of a plastic product to fit another within the same home. However, the global number of recycling companies is very low and there is need for different countries to establish their own plastic recycling companies and to capacity-build their citizens on safe use of plastics. Recycling plastics can also be associated with reuse which is an aspect of recycling a plastic for another use after its primary intended utility has been achieved. Reuse is an aspect mainly related to the use of plastics at an individual level. It entails the various alternative uses a plastic product can be used for apart from its primary intended use.
Globally, there have been different smart ideas and innovations on manners through which the use of plastics is discouraged within the abort, recycle, and reduce platforms. San Francisco is one major example of a state that has implemented stringent regulations banning the use of plastics. Furthermore, officials have recently passed a motion to implement a 10 cents charge to shoppers that use plastic bags for their products. The impact of this will be reduced dependence on plastic bags for shopping and reuse and recycling of already possessed plastic bags; thus, reducing demand and consequently, their production. In Dubai, the supermarkets have been using oxo-biodegradable bags and jute bags for their customers. While plastic bags have a large pollution effect given that they take many years to decompose, these oxo-biodegradable bags and jute bags react with oxygen in the air making them decompose faster as any other biodegradable material. In result, the use of plastic bags and their pollution effects are reduced.
Plastics cause various pollution and health impact on the environment and livelihoods of people and animals. To enable sustainable development, they should be banned through legal policies and regulations on their use and manufacture. Innovations on the recycling and reuse of plastic should also be encouraged both at an individual and community level.