Plastic is the number one environmental problem our world is facing for the past 10 decades. Every year, there is a 9% growth in the usage and stock of plastic everywhere. From building materials, clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and even in our hospital care -plastics’ presence is largely felt. Whether we admit it or not, plastic is a major constituent of our daily needs.
The lightweight, low-cost and long-living components of plastic are the characteristics that encourage companies to use it even more. When you pack a soft drink in a plastic bottle it does not add a lot of weight to the product and does not mark as an additional cost in shipping, therefore, it is efficient in its own way. Using other alternatives such as paper or glass requires more energy and ends up making goods bulky and delicate.
Plastics are made of Polymers that are made of carbon and hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine, nitrogen, chlorine, sulfur, silicon or phosphorous. Polymerization and Polycondensation are the two major processes to produce plastic.
According to News Australia, humans have created almost 9.1 billion metric tons of plastic since 1950. If you do the math that means that every single man on the planet has made a contribution of at least one ton of plastic to the planet.
The only problem is that Plastic does not decompose, so if we produce it, either we recycle it, incinerate it, or bury it. Otherwise, it will just float into the ocean and water bodies if improperly disposed of. Only 9% of plastics are being recycled, 12% is incinerated, and more than 5 billion tons of it is in the ocean and land.
Plastic in the ocean harms marine life such as fish and sea turtles, while plastic that remains on land harms the human body and pollutes the environment too. It’s projected that by 2050, 34 billion metric tons of plastic will have been produced on the planet, with China as the leading manufacturer, followed by Europe and then North America.