Plastic hazards

Published October 1, 2022

MY father used to tell me of the times when farmers would bring in garbage collected from the cities. Trucks carrying waste were bought and the contents were thrown across fields. One man’s trash truly became another man’s treasure. It was like a natural fertiliser for the crops. This way, even the waste became useful. But the practice had to be stopped because the plastic component in the waste started to rise.

Plastic, a toxic material that neither decays nor decomposes, has entered our lives without anybody realising it. Not only does it cause pollution, it is also the leading cause of urban flooding.

Sewers, as we all know, get blocked by plastic and rainwater starts to accumulate on the roads, making them look like canals.

If things do not change, it seems in the near future every house will need a boat for moving around during the monsoons. Plastic cannot be buried away, while burning it releases several toxic gases that contribute to air pollution.

In Pakistan, there is a trend of using double plastic bags for packing stuff and no mechanism of destroying it. Only the ‘three R strategy’ — reduce, reuse, recycle — is the practical way out. We should prefer reusable cloth bags over plastic bags.

People must take this problem seriously and take preventive measures against it, or else these giant heaps of plastic around us would swallow us all and there will be nothing but plastic everywhere.

Momna Ahmad
Sargodha

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2022

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