বিশেষ সংবাদ

বিশেষ সংবাদ

Opinion

Threat of plastic pollution on the rise

Sazzad Hossain Sourov : United Nations Environment Programme found that plastics may take 500-1000 years to c, even then it becomes microplastics without fully degrading. Sustainability of environment creates sustainable tomorrow. But this non-biodegradable element adversely impact on environment including land, oceans, coastline and air. Since man has created the plastic pollution, only man can save the environment from detrimental impact of such pollution to ensure sustainable environment.

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Plastic pollution is the most global pressing issue for its detrimental impact on environment and human life. It is the most enduring material man has ever created. It causes extinction of marine species, health problems for human beings and the destruction of our ecosystem.

The objectives are promoting the awareness regarding plastic pollution to ensure sustainable development of environment. Engage with policy makers, advocating for regulations and policies that reduce plastic waste, promote recycling and encourage sustainable alternatives. Global plastic industry may take specific measures to minimize the plastic pollution.

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There is a movement to reduce plastic waste called Plastic Free July Movement in which participants reduce their household waste including millions of single-use drink bottles, coffee cups, packaging, straws and plastic bags and recycling 21 kilos per person in every year. Thus they contribute to a total savings of 940 million kilos of plastic waste every year.

Marine Plastic Pollution: International Union for Conservation of Nature published a report on November 2021 and found that 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year and 80% of all marine pollution occurs due to plastic waste. Main sources of plastic debris found in the ocean coming from urban and storm-water runoff, sewer overflows, industrial activities and single use item such as shopping bags, cups and straws.

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Plastic wastes are the reasons of ingestion, suffocation and entanglement of hundreds of marine species. The marine wildlife such as seabirds, whales, fish and turtles die of starvation as their stomachs become filled with plastic. Thereby floating plastics threatening marine biodiversity. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that plastic pollution contributes to climate crisis.

The production of plastic is one of the most energy intensive manufacturing process. The materials are fossil fuels such as crude oil, which are transformed into polymer via heat and other additives. UNEP also found that plastics produces 1.8 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 which is 3.4 per cent of the global total. Million tons of plastic throughout the world reeling in the oceans have obtained a lot of media attention recently.

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But plastic pollution more aggressively threats to the plants, animals and humans who are based on land. UNEP expressed the plastics we use in our daily life ends up in landfills where it may take up to 1,000 years to degrade. It emits toxic substances into the soil. In Germany, the researchers are warning that the impact of microplastics in soils adversely effect on ecosystems.

Fossil fuels like oil and natural gas are the main raw- materials producing plastic. These materials release toxic emissions into air when extracted oil and gas from our earth. The recycling industry of plastic adversely impact on air quality by burning of plastics. Researchers estimate that over 40% of the world's garbage is burned. Burning plastic releases dangerous substances such as heavy metals and other toxic chemicals into the air.

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UNEP published a new report to show the roadmap reducing plastic pollution. The report expressed if countries and companies make effective policy and using existing technology, it could reduce 80% of plastic pollution by 2040. The method of reuse, recycle and reorient can reduce plastic pollution in where reusing method can reduce 30% of the pollution. The report recommends a global fiscal framework as an international policy to enable recycled materials.

So far, there is no single comprehensive international law that specifically address plastic pollution. The members of United Nations agreed on a resolution to end plastic pollution. To reduce the negative impact of plastic pollution Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is developing a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

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Another method to reduce the plastic pollution is, moving away from the current linear plastic economy to a circular plastic economy. For achieving this method countries need to encourage to those businesses that do away with unnecessary plastics. Individuals should not use single-use plastic products whenever possible. They need to reuse and recycle the products as well as not depositing the plastics into water.

The most important thing which individuals may take is to raise their voice against plastic pollution and supporting business which reducing single-use plastics.

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Plastic pollution is now global problem. It adversely impacts on the marine species, human lives, plants and animals. To ensure sustainable tomorrow, at first sustainable development of environment is essential. But plastic pollution causes environmental degradation.

Individuals, state and business industry should come forward to maintaining free environment of plastic pollution by avoiding single-use plastics. Absolute plastic free environment is not possible without recycle and reuse of plastic products.

The writer is a student, Department of Law at Jagannath University

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