With plastic being extensively used one should be made aware of its ill effects too.

Plastics are synthetic substances produced by chemical reactions. Almost all plastics are made from petroleum, except a few experimental resins derived from corn and other organic substances. Plastic is also used to make bags, film and filaments. Cost of production, light weight, strength and easy process of manufacture are some of the reasons that have made it a raw material of choice for manufacturers use it as packing material or shopping bag. However, the hazards plastics pose to environment are numerous.

Side effects

The students of Rashtrotthana Vidya Kendra in association with TERI launched “Mission Green” a transition campaign recently. The main objective of this programme was to create awareness about the hazards of using plastic bags.

Environmentalist Bineesha, inaugurated this programme recently. She unfurled the banner and declared the eight-week project open. She said that students must create environmental awareness among people and they must develop a culture of “refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle” by using the indigenous resources.

The students highlighted the ill-effects of plastic bags especially to the environment, in their speeches. The land gets littered by plastic bags and the garbage presents an ugly and unhygienic scene. The “throw away culture” results in these bags finding their way into the drainage system, resulting in blockage and causing inconvenience. The difficulty in maintaining the drainage because of high costs, creates an unhygienic environment resulting in health hazard and spreading of water borne diseases. This littering also reduces the rate of rain water percolating, resulting in lowering the water levels in the cities. The soil fertility deteriorates as the plastic bags form a part of manure and remain in the soil for years.

Be aware

Faculty member and TERI coordinator Anette Fernandes made a presentation on “Say No to Plastic”. He also told them about degradable plastics. The principle is to incorporate into the plastic some chemical that is photodegradable/biodegradable or chemically treatable. By adding starch, biodegradable plastics are generally made. On burial such plastics are attacked by bacteria feeding on starch, which breaks these down into tiny particles that disappear harmlessly into the soil.

The programme concluded with students along with guests, and faculty members taking an oath to freeIndia from plastic.