Increased consumerism, coupled with the ease of technology to manufacture cheap plastic products, turns out to be the two underlying causes of plastic pollution that are supposed to grow exponentially daily. But the question remains: is plastic something that we don’t need in our daily lives? Is it a material that should be made redundant?
Let’s start analyzing it, and it’s up to you to decide which side you pick: a yes or a no.
This picture shows the amount of waste at Juhu beach in Mumbai:
You, as a reader, shall say that ‘this picture represents that plastics and polymers are the source of pollution and look at how it is deteriorating our planet!’, and I agree with you. But, have you noticed the gloves the people wear while cleaning up these beaches? Those are fabricated with Nitrile rubber, which is made from the copolymer of butadiene rubber and acrylonitrile.
The clothes they wear are made from synthetic polyesters. In fact, polyester has been a constant in our closets since 1951 and is continuing to expand. Furthermore, the slippers are made of a variety of polymer species such as polyvinyl chloride, ethylene vinyl acrylate, and styrene-butadiene rubber.
With a broader perspective of thought and development, we need to redesign our materials in a way so that it can synchronize with the emerging plastics economy. Manufacturers are working on converting the conventional packaging system into biodegradable packaging and products. Several global plastics protocols are being developed which induce incubation, scaling up, and implementation of pilot-scale projects.
Stresses have been laid on environmentally benign materials, including efficient strategies of recycling and designing products keeping sustainability in the backdrop. For instance, the single-use plastics are now being fabricated in a way so that you may eat them too with your food. They are made of bio-based materials, which means, next time you enter a restaurant, not only can you have your food but also the spoons and the forks.
Without blaming the government and the associated pollution, start acting small. Inspire people around you so that they also can incept the process of transiting our environment into a sustainable one.
One small step you take today shall be a contributing factor to the better future tomorrow.