Zain Ali, Ali Hassan, Usama Maqsood, Researchers At GCUF, Wastewater Treatment

Plastic pollution is influencing adversely on the environmental beings these days. It is the accumulation of the plastic objects and particles like bags, microbeads and plastic bottles in the environment. Plastics are cheap and reliable, so its manufacturing is very high. But the chemical build-up of most plastics renders them to many natural processes like degradation, so they are slow to degrade.

Plastic pollution is a major cause on land as well as marine life. About 380 million tonnes of plastic is manufactured annually. From 1950s till now, it is estimated that 6.5 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced from which 12 percent has been incinerated. About 9 million tonnes of plastic waste is entered in the oceans by coastal communities every year. The studies suggest, there are 90 percent seabirds containing plastic debris in them.

When the plastic waste is burned, it releases harmful chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans into the air, which causes intense air pollution that effects the human beings, Many respiratory and lung diseases. Burning also produces black carbon which contributes in climate change. It poses a great risk to vegetation of the plants.

Health problems due to plastic pollutions in whole life of humans include many kinds of cancer, diabetes, several organs malfunctions, impact on eyes, skin and other sensory organs and many other disorders.

There are many tips or guidelines that can help us to retard plastic pollution, that are:

1.     Take yourself away from disposable plastic:

About 90 percent of the plastic items in our lives are used just for once and then chunked such as grocery bags, plastic raps, straws and coffee-cup lids. Try to replace these items with some reusable versions as we often rely on these products. It takes a very little time to bring your own bags to stores, silverwares to offices as it will become a habit.


2.     Stop buying water:

About 20 billion plastic water bottles are tossed in trash each year. Always carry a reusable water bottle along with you, which will eventually cause some change.


3.     Boycott microbeads:

The little plastic scrubbers found in many beauty products, in facial scrubs, toothpastes and body washes might look harmless. But due to their small size, they get away from treatment plants hence become a part of water system and engulfed by many fishes and seabirds. Try to use natural products instead.


4.     Purchase secondhand items:

New toys and some other electronic items come in a plastic packaging. So, search the garage sales in your neighborhood or on online postings for the items that are good when previously used. It will save your money too.

5.     Recycle:

It seems obvious, but we are not trying to do it. Never discard the plastic bottles just after one use. There are many bottles of good quality that can be used again and again for long times, avail them.


6.     Never leave any waste on the street, in nature:

Always through the waste in the bin or into some junkyard. If you cannot find one then better to take it with you to home. Biodegradable plastic does not belong in nature too. These types of plastics are only decomposed neatly in the industrial compost plants.

Cigarette filters consists of cellulose acetates, a type of plastic. So, don’t just throw away your cigarette butts.


7.     Do not use balloons at parties:

Balloons are the very dangerous plastic items; they can be often engulfed by some birds. 1 out of 5 birds die that ingests a single fragment. So, please do not use balloons.


8.     Avoid synthetic clothing:

Synthetic clothing like fleece sweaters or hoodies releases small plastic fibers into the environment. About one-third of all the plastic in the oceans come from laundry.


9.     Be careful with paint:

The paint residues releases microplastics in the environment which are very harmful for the living beings. Do not rinse your paint brushes under tap.


10.  Put pressure on manufacturers:

Ask the goods manufacturing companies to make a difference by their habits. Ask them to use smart packaging. Give your money to a sustainable competitor.


11.  Support a Bag tax or Ban:

Urge your elected officials to follow the leads of the developed cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and other 150 cities and countries by introducing or supporting legislation that would make plastic bag use less.

About the Authors: Zain Ali, Ali Hassan, Usama Maqsood are researchers at GCUF in the doain of Wastewater Treatment