Pune: Since last several years, many activists and people all around the world are talking repeatedly about the growing plastic pollution which is rapidly disrupting the environment on a large scale. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is observed every year on April 22. This year, the tagline of the day is ‘End Plastic Pollution’, which highlights the problem the world is facing these days.
Speaking on the issue, Shashikant Dalvi, an environmentalist from the city, said, “Plastic will be one of the major contributors to the extinction of human race. Our plastic addiction has created a dilemma that has made plastic an indispensable part of the modern world while simultaneously contaminating the oceans, choking landfills and even harming our health.
“It is the time to drastically reduce our plastic use from our daily life. The government takes steps to curb plastic pollution, but citizens do not cooperate in implementation. It is up to human beings to be a part of this planet earth or become extinct due to their own actions.”
Satish Khot, former president of National Societies of Clean Cities, further explained, “The blame does not fall wholly on civic authorities, but people need to be educated about the same. Conducting one or two plastic collection drives is not enough, these drives should continue throughout the year at least. It is the government’s responsibility to take up initiatives to curb the usage of plastic.”
Aneeta Ghokhale-Bennigar, President of National Societies of Clean Cities, said, “Since plastic has become a menace to the society, citizens are to be held responsible for it. As we are the creator of it, the government should not be blamed. ‘It’s like not wearing a helmet’. This line explains the whole scenario about plastic.”
According to a team of researchers from University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Georgia, and the Sea Education Association, 9 billion tons of plastic have been made since the 1950s. From which only 9 per cent of plastic waste produced ended up recycled. And as of 2015, only 9 per cent of the plastic waste produced ended up recycled, and another 12 per cent was incinerated, the researchers found in their report. The remaining 79 per cent has built up in landfills or ended up elsewhere in the environment. The researchers on this study were part of a team that estimated in 2015 that between 5 million and 13 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. In this new study, the team said plastic is found in every major ocean basin.
In 2010, scientists from National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the University of Georgia in Athens estimated the figure as 8 million tonnes, and predicted that to rise to 9.1 million tonnes by 2015. If current production, use and waste management trends continue, the study projects the amount of plastic in landfill or polluting the natural environments by 2050 will be 12 billion tonnes.