Plastic is a material consisting of any wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organics that are malleable and can be molded into solid objects of diverse shapes. Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass, but they often contain other substances.
Plastic generally degrades in about 500 – 1000 years, though we may never know its actual degradation time, as this material has been in long-term use only since the last century. During its manufacturing, many hazardous chemicals are emitted that can lead to dreadful diseases in humans as well as other animals. Ethylene oxide, xylene, and benzene are some of the chemical toxins present in plastic, which can have hazardous effects on the environment. It is not easy to dispose it off, and it can cause permanent harm to living beings. Several additives found in plastic such as phthalates, adipates, and even alkyl phenols have been recognized as toxic materials. Vinyl chloride, which is used in the manufacturing of PVC pipes, is classified as a carcinogen.
The recycled plastics are more harmful to the environment than the virgin products due to mixing of colour, additives, stabilizers, flame retardants etc. Further, the recycling of a virgin plastic material can be done 2-3 times only, because, after every recycling, the strength of plastic material is reduced due to thermal degradation. In India, there is no specific rule for managing and monitoring of plastic waste recycling industries. Recyclers are using crude methods to thermally degrade the plastic which is causing serious hazards to health and environment.
India is being rated highest among all the countries for its recycling business. Plastic menace can be tackled only if a scientific and permanent solution can be found for its disposal. Plastic waste to roads and other construction materials is the feasible and scietific solution for plastic menace.
Plastics are widely used in:
In India approximately 8 million tons plastics are consumed every year which was expected to rise 20 million tons by 2020. Considering 70%of total plastic consumption is discarded as waste, approx. 6 million tons per annum plastic is generated in the country.