Question 1 Explain how plastics are a boon as well as a curse?
Question 2 What are the various ways to minimise overuse of plastics?
Question 3 What are the various ways to reduce the generation of garbage?
Plastics : Boon or Curse
Some of the things made of plastics which are used by us in our daily life are plastic bags (polythene bags), water bottles, buckets, mugs, water tanks, water pipes, pens, combs, tooth-brushes, toys, shoes, tea strainers, cups, plates, chairs, tables, insulation of electric wires, covers of electric switches, plugs and sockets, Some of the parts of radio, television, refrigerator, cars, buses, trucks, scooters, trains and aeroplanes.
The list of things made of plastics which are used by us is so long that it is very difficult to imagine our life without plastics. This makes plastics a boon for us.
Plastics also become a curse when we use the things made of plastics excessively but do not dispose of their wastes properly. This is because all types of plastics cannot be recycled (only some kinds of plastics can be recycled) and plastics do not rot (or decompose) when buried in soil. The articles made of plastics are non-biodegradable, so they cannot be disposed of easily.
The excessive use of plastic objects and their disposal harms us and our surroundings in the following ways:
(1) Plastics do not rot (or decompose) in nature on their own. So, the plastic bags (polythene bags) thrown away carelessly on roads and other places get into drains and sewers (sewers are underground dirty water pipes). These plastic bags block the drains and sewers causing the dirty drain water to on the roads. During heavy rains, the choked drains and sewers are not able to carry away all the rainwater quickly and hence a flood like situation is created in the city areas.
(2) Some people fill household garbage in plastic bags and throw it away. When stray cattle look for food in this thrown garbage, they also eat up plastic bags along with the garbage food (such as fruit and vegetable peels, left-over cooked food, etc.). The eating of plastic bags harms the cattle. Sometimes the cattle even die because of eating plastic bags.
(3) Sometimes the plastic bags which have been used earlier for storing poisonous substances and then thrown in garbage dumps are picked up by ragpickers, washed and sold to shopkeepers in the market. The use of such plastic bags for packing and storing cooked food materials can harm our health. For carrying and storing food products, we should use only new plastic bags or containers which are approved for such a use.
(4) The burning of plastic waste materials gives out extremely harmful gases which can cause many health problems. The gases given out during the burning of plastics can even cause cancer disease in humans. We should, therefore, never dispose of plastic waste materials by burning.
Ways to Minimise Overuse of Plastics
We can minimise the overuse of plastics in the following ways:
(1) We should reuse the plastic carry-bags for shopping purposes (whenever it is possible to do so without any adverse effects). This will minimise the number of plastic bags used by us.
(2) We should carry our own cloth bag or jute bag when we go out for shopping. This will cut down on the number of plastic bags used.
(3) We should use paper bags wherever possible to reduce the use of plastic bags.
(4) We should reuse the plastic containers which come with jams, pickles, oils and other packed food materials for storing salt, spices, tea-leaves, and sugar, etc., in the kitchen.
(5) We should give away old plastic toys to others who can use them.
Ways to Reduce the Generation of Garbage
The ways to reduce the generation of garbage and getting rid of garbage are as follows:
(1) We should dispose of our kitchen garbage by vemicomposting to obtain high quality manure for our plants. We should never put kitchen garbage in polythene bags and throw it away.
(2) We should not throw plastic bags here and there after use. The plastic bags and other plastic contairers should be reused wherever possible. We should never burn plastic bags or other plastic items.
(3) We should make full use of paper in our notebooks, etc, by writing on its both sides. We should use a slate to do rough work and hence save on paper.
(4) Used newspapers, magazines, and notebooks, etc, should be sent for recycling.
(5) We should give old clothes and books to others who can use them.
(6) We should use cloth handkerchief instead of paper tissues to save paper and reduce the generation of garbage.
(7) We should choose and buy products with the least packaging.
(8) We should use cloth bags, jute bags and paper bags for shopping instead of plastic bags to reduce the generation of plastic garbage.
(9) We should recycle the old and useless objects made of glass and metals instead of throwing them away.
(10) We should recycle plastics wherever possible.
Garbage disposal is not the responsibility of the Government only. It is also the responsibility of each one of us. All of us should take steps to reduce the generation of garbage as much as possible. We should not throw garbage here and there. The garbage should be put in proper dustbins (or garbage bins) so as to help in its proper disposal and keep the surroundings clean.