Plastic is petroleum-based products, and they are used in different fields in various forms. The basic principle for the production of plastic is the conversion of natural gas or crude oil components into monomers like ethylene, propylene, butane, and styrene in presence of catalysts. Then, these monomers are chemically bonded to form a chain called a polymer. Different additives substances like Chlorine, Nitrogen, Fluorine, Oxygen etc. and color material make different types of plastics.
Plastic, in its various forms, affects the environment with different problems and destructing the earth’s life. Many scientists and environmental specialists all over the world have studied the harmful effect of plastic in detail. Apart from the introduction of many types of poisons in the environment and in our body, plastic also blocks the sewage system of urban areas, adversely affect the riverbed and estuary and bring destructive change in the biodiversity to a large extent.
The low-density polyethylene is the form of plastic that is used for the production of polythene bags. High-density polyethylene is used for the production of buckets, bowls, cups, and plates, jackets for cement and fertilizers and large sized bottles. Polyvinyl chloride is used for productions of rexine shoe soles, toys, pipe, tubing blood and plasma transfusion bags etc. Polycarbonate is used to produce baby feeding bottles, large water bottles etc. The thermoset polyurethane is used to produce all types of foams. Polypropylenes are used to prepare packaging material for edible items, luggage carried and textile cones, polyethylene terephthalate is used to prepare bottles for many purposes.
During the production and transportation of the plastic products, there requires a huge amount of mineral oil. So the plastic synthesis causes hazards in hydrocarbon fuel storage at a high rate and produces dangerous fuel. Polyurethane alone consumes 11 percent of total production of dangerous ‘phosgene’ gas of the world during its formation.
There are occupational hazards for workers and the death of a huge number of humans, animal, and plants due to accidental leakage. Plastics are also toxic and plastic produces different kinds of toxic substances. Other toxic materials are also present in plastics. Among them, the color materials and other additives like formatting agents, plasticizers etc. which are used during preparation of various types of plastic and remain in it are very toxic and most of them are carcinogenic. They all remain poorly bonded with the plastic polymers and tend to reach out and mix with the adhered materials.
During burning, all types of plastic emit some very toxic gases, so it is not considered a way to get rid of the accumulated load of plastic on earth. Only a few types of plastic can be recycled another two or three times. During recycling, many toxic gases are emitted and the quality of the recycled plastic is worse than the original one. Animals are not able to distinguish plastic from straw and other cellulose containing materials. So it is not very uncommon for the herbivorous animals, mainly cattle and buffaloes, and sheep and goats to consume plastic packets (mainly of Polyethylene and Polypropylene origin) thinking them to be food. These animals cannot digest them, and show the symptoms of recurrent bloat and are generally treated by carminative for a long period. Continuous accumulation of such plastic packets happens inside the first camper of their four-chambered stomach.
Now a day, there are different types of plastic productions. They make the plastics but they can’t give the management of the plastic products. Mainly in the city like Kathmandu, most of all people are educated and they know very well the effect of the plastics. But they damn care about the management of these plastics. The unmanaged use of plastics causes the different unsolvable problems.
Nepal is agricultural country; most of the people depend upon the agriculture. But nowadays the fertility of the land is degraded and production is being decaying. The effects of plastics are the main reason for decaying the crop productivity in recent days.
If the pollution of plastics crosses the limit, then unsolvable problems will be arising. So before arising from these problems, we all have to process beneficial steps to minimize the plastics pollution. From personal level to government level, all have to concern about the plastics pollution and will be forwarded to reduce the pollution.