World Environment Day 2018: There's plastic in air, water and even beer!

The humongous amount of existing plastic waste

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A study conducted by Ellen McArthur Foundation in 2015 says that about 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste has been generated in the world so far, and around 90% of this will not decompose for at least 500 years. Micro-plastic or tiny fragments have been found in soil, tap water, bottled water, beer and even in the air we breathe, according to scientists. 

Should we curb plastic waste generation?

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If nothing is done to control the present situation of rampant generation of plastic waste, the pollution would double within the next 30 years and there would be more plastic in the ocean than fishes.

How bad the current situation is?

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At present, one garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute. This is expected to grow to two trucks by 2030 and to four by 2050.

China: The top producer of plastic waste

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China tops in the mismanagement of plastic waste, producing 8.82 million metric tonnes. India stands at fifth position, surpassing the USA in the mismanagement of the plastic waste.

How much plastic waste does India generate?

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In a year, the amount of plastic waste that India generates is equivalent to the weight of 30 Titanic ships. Among the Indian states, Maharashtra generates the maximum plastic waste, with Gujarat coming second.

How notorious is plastic among oceanic pollutants

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Plastic stood in the top five items which pollute oceans. This was discovered in the world’s largest ever ocean clean-up exercise conducted in 2017.

What harm do the plastics cause?

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According to a research conducted by Trucost, plastic causes nearly $75 billion of environmental damages. It is hazardous to both animals and humans. Sea animals choke on plastic. Plastics dumped into oceans move up the food chain causing several health hazards like Cancer, Endocrine problems, etc. in humans.

Few despicable facts

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In the last decade, more plastic was produced than in the whole last century. And, one million plastic bottles are bought every minute.

Environment stands low on India’s budgetary allocation

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Photo: PTI

 According to a Greenpeace report, 3,300 Indians died every day in 2015. In the last five years, the government’s allocation towards the environment has got reduced by 19%.

Should we discard plastic completely?

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We use plastic for almost everything.  According to a study conducted by Trucost, replacing plastic completely would quadruple the environmental costs by increasing the carbon footprint. So using paper bags instead of polythene sounds like a great idea, except it means cutting more trees. Recycling is possibly a better option.

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