World Earth Day: Don’t Test Nature, It’s Not Helpless !

World Earth Day: Don’t Test Nature, It’s Not Helpless !

The plastic generated by India is more than any other country, except the US and European Union...

Pawan Kaushik

About 1.4 billion Indian population is generating more than 3.4 million tonnes of plastic waste in a year, but only 30 per cent of it is recycled – though some reports argue that only less than 10% of it is being recycled. It is also a fact that 60 major cities in India produce 4079.56 metric tons of plastic waste per day.

The plastic generated by India is more than any other country, except the US and European Union. It can be argued that India's mismanaged plastic waste would be less than one-fifth of China and one-third of the US, but does that prove, India’s plastic pollution is now sorted ?

The world produced more than 400 million metric tons of plastic, which is a 1.6% increase from the previous year. This is an increase from just 2-million tons produced in 1950, and has been growing at an 8% rate per year since then. This number is projected to triple by 2060 to one billion metric tons. South Korea (59%) and Germany (65%) have the highest recycling rates in the world.

According to a recent report, India is expected to release 3,91,879 tons of micro-plastics into the environment and 31,483 tons of chemical additives into waterways. While the lifespan of plastic products averages around 10 years, plastics can take up to 500 years to decompose, depending on their composition and disposal.

The point is, are we testing or provoking the patience of nature, to take necessary steps itself, to amend the increasing plastic-pollution? Nature is not dependent on humans, it possesses the power to find solutions, but are we humans prepared to accept those resolutions ? I fear not.

The consequences of plastic pollution are profound and far-reaching. Besides degrading the fertility of soil, marine ecosystems bear the brunt of this crisis, with millions of tons of plastic debris suffocating coral reefs, entangling marine life, and contaminating food chains. The Birds, fish, and mammals mistake plastic fragments for food, leading to internal injuries, starvation, and death. Moreover, plastic waste clogs water bodies, disrupts natural drainage systems, and contributes to flooding in urban areas.

Beyond its ecological impacts, plastic pollution poses serious health risks to humans. Chemicals leached from plastic products, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, have been linked to various adverse health effects, including hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues, and even cancer. Moreover, the ingestion of micro-plastics through contaminated food and water sources raises concerns about their long-term health consequences.

More than government policies and punishments, the approach that is required to address this menace needs to begin with responsibility and be accountable. This is the time, the corporate sector can play a far significant role by reaching to every employee and its family. Though, the irony remains - no political party has ‘pollution reduction’ as one of its agenda in its election manifesto. 

By Pavan Kaushik- Pavan Kaushik is a renowned storyteller and author

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