Abdullah Ismail, Environmental Chemist (Pakistan Tanners Association)

Globally, environmental degradation has become a vile danger to human beings and wildlife. Both the air we inhale and the water we drink are very unhygienic today. For the food we eat, the same goes. Moreover, trucks and motor cars that can envelop all the major cities of the world emit huge plumes of smoke. The world's rising population is one of the leading causes of increasing environmental pollution. When the population grows, so does the amount of garbage that individuals generate.

Plastic Pollution is a major threat to our environment and oceans. The quantity of plastic debris present in the oceans is extremely large that is called the “7th continent”. At this rate, there will be a more plastic than fishes in the oceans by 2050. Plastic is not an inherently good item, since it consists of significant toxic substances in the form of air, water and land contamination that have the potential to cause considerable harm to the environment. In addition, it has begun to have a detrimental effect on the natural environment while causing problems for wildlife and human populations, such as destroying plant life and posing hazards to animals.

 Approximately 8 million tons of plastic was purposely poured into the seas worldwide, according to a report. Owing to wind and the flow of rivers and the release of urban overflow into water bodies, they often find their way. It is surprising to know that it takes more than 100 years for the simplest plastic usually used in grocery store bags to crumble, while the complicated ones take between 100 and 600 years to decompose or even beyond that.

To begin with, it is important to realize that plastic is not just one material; it is theoretically a collective term for a number of synthetic polymers. Since the middle of the last century, products made from plastics have been growing exponentially. Unfortunately, all of these items are made for a single use about half of the plastic is used once and thrown away. More than 3.3 million tons of plastic are wasted each year in Pakistan, and most of it ends in landfills, unmanaged dumps or strewn about land and water bodies across the country. In South Asia, Pakistan has the highest percentage of mismanaged plastic.

Beside the plastic, one of the main dangers is microplastic which we are consuming right now. Microplastics are small pieces of plastics that are produced over time as a result of the decomposition of large plastics discarded into the ocean. Owing to their small sizes, they are consumed by aquatic animals such as fish and thus become part of the food chain, eventually intoxicating human health. So, the fish you ate last night may be microplastic-contaminated.

Some of the facts about plastic pollution:

Following facts about plastic may make your eyes pop:

·         91% of plastics are not recycled

·         83% of tap water samples contain plastic contents

·         50% of plastic is used only Once

·         About 2 million plastic bags are used per minute, worldwide.

·         Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million sea animals every year


In 2017, a total of 193 countries committed to a plan to reduce plastic wastes. Indeed, this is the best way to reduce plastic pollution as governments can pass laws and also has access to vast number of resources. But it doesn’t mean that at individual level we cannot do anything. Here is the list of things that you can do to play your part in reducing plastic pollution.


The first step to reduce plastic pollution is to rethink about its usage. Do I really need this in first place? That is the first question you should be asking yourself. Take a paper now and write down in what ways you can reduce your plastic usage.


Secondly you can use, reusable water bottles and coffee cups. So why not take your own cup when you next time visit a coffee shop?

Use bins

As we talked about wastage in the toilet. This can be greatly reduced by putting a bin in your bathroom. In this way you will be able to effectively reduce the urge to flush things off.

Bulk Buying

You can also buy in bulk to reduce consumption of plastic bags. Do not be demotivated by thinking of it as a very tiny step. Every domino effect starts with just a single push.

“Do something drastic – cut the plastic!” – Unknown

About the Author: Abdullah Ismail is an Environmental Chemist currently working in Pakistan Tanners Association as Laboratory In charge.