Single-use plastics and their hazardous effects

Jul 5, 2022

By: BI India Bureau

Common Items

Commonly used in polythene bags, wrappers, plastic bottles, straws — single-use plastics are used only once and thrown away.

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Plastic waste generated in India

India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, around 43 percent of it comprises single-use plastic.

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Over a million plastic bottles used every minute

Around 1.2 million plastic bottles are used by people globally in a single minute. Roughly, half of the global annual plastic production is for single-use products.

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Non-biodegradable

Plastic grocery bags take around two decades and plastic bottles around 450 years to fully break down. But the Sun and heat turn them into smaller pieces called microplastics

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Facts about single use plastics

Microplastics are composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS) and nylon etc. They are fragments of less than 5 mm in length, according to a U S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.

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They enter the food chain

Microplastics damage human cells, causing allergic reactions and cell death. Marine life also has a high amount of microplastics in their tissues as it easily enters their food chain.

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Seabirds are dying

A million seabirds die every year due to dying microplastics. Scientists predict that 99 percent of all seabirds will ingest plastic by 2050. Microplastics block and damage gastrointestinal tracts of small birds

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Lack of proper documentation

India struggles with proper segregation and recycling processes of plastic products. The Central Pollution Control Board stated in its annual report of 2018-19 that the country has around 1080 unregistered recycling units resulting in poor management abilities.

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Promoting throwaway culture

These single-use modern comforts i.e. straws, wrappers, plastic bags are so omnipresent that we forget they come with an abrupt environmental price that we will be paying off for decades.

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