MAN-MADE PLASTIC has been a boon in many ways and has countless uses, but it is also an environmental time-bomb waiting to explode. These plastics do not decompose easily and, hence, lead to countless health and environmental hazards when disposed of carelessly.
Burning of plastic bags and items leads to the creation of noxious fumes, such as carbon monoxide. The noxious fumes have also had an injurious effect on the ozone layer, which prevents the harmful rays of sun from flowing into atmosphere.
One of _the most common chemicals in plastics is Bisphenol A; more-widely known as BPA. This compound is an endocrine disruptor which can mimic oestrogen and has been linked with an array of afflictions as diverse as diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, thyroid disorders, ADHD, infertility and obesity. BPA and other persistent organic pollutants can pass through the placental wall and might also enter infants through breast milk.
About yearly 100 million tonnes plus of plastic is produced world-wide. In Asia plastic use in daily exercise is more common. Plastic packaging restrictions are being enacted or proposed across the continent, including in Pakistan, India, Malaysia and the Philippines.
According to a study – Pakistan Strategic Environmental Assessment – the degradation of its resource base and high burden of disease is costing Pakistan about Rs365 billion annually.
The writer is an environmentalist.