TODAY -

Let us stop burning of plastic

Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh *

Blue and Green for Organic Manipur - Awareness programme on Plastic pollution in Sep 2010
Blue and Green for Organic Manipur - Awareness programme on Plastic pollution in Sep 2010 :: Pix - Deepak Shijagurumayum



We have been discussing pollution and climate change at much higher planes and at global level. We all agreed that climate change is product of pollution and pollution comes from many sides. One such pollution is the domestic pollution, comprising of Household Air pollution and Household Garbage (both biodegradable and non biodegradable wastes).

The household air pollution (HAP) is caused by burning of cooking fuels in the kitchen, burning of mosquito repellent coils, incense sticks etc. In Indian homes burning of cow dung and agricultural residue also adds to HAP. According to WHO guidelines safe limit is 10-35 micrograms of PM 2.5 per cubic metre. In India, the HAP is much above this safe limit, the Indian states have more than 10 times of permissible limit. It is indeed an alarming situation and something needs to be done. But today, situation is much more alarming because every household produces a high quantity of plastic waste and most of them are burnt which adds to HAP. Burning plastic is highly dangerous form of pollution.

Last few weeks, the atmosphere has been laden with smoke. In every household, there is a column of smoke of burning of dried weeds, dried garbage, kitchen waste etc. These smokes also reach our living rooms and contribute to the particulate matter concentration of HAP making our living uncomfortable and causing health hazards. Though Manipur is considered to be quite safe in terms of industrial pollution, in terms of HAP, it is quite high and much beyond safe limit due to dependence on burning of firewood for cooking.

Plastic Compounds

We use plastic for many purposes, household items, constructional and industrial purposes and for our machines and they are all synthetic polymers. Synthetic polymers are anything that is manufactured by human beings. This types of polymers release reactants which are hazardous; both to humans and the environment. Synthetic polymers are mostly of petroleum based and a huge quantity of petroleum is being diverted to plastic manufacturing. It is one of the largest industries nowadays. The plastic products are popular because they are so handy, light and cheap, at one stage we thought that it was a boon to human beings, but now it is being realised that it is not a boon, but is going to be a doom for humans and wildlife both.

Plastics are non-biodegradable. The biodegradable or vegetable polymers are not yet produced on commercial scale. The common types of plastics found in the waste are Polythene bags and Sheets (polyethylene-PE) used as dispo-bags, storage bags and shopping bags; PVC (polyvinyl chloride) used in bottles, packaging and containers; PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) used predominantly in liquor and beverage bottles and similar containers; PS (polystyrene) a light spongy material (thermocol) used in meat, eggs and miscellaneous product trays and hot beverage cups; and PP (polypropylene) used in yogurt containers, straws, margarine tubs and special bags. Most of these plastics are discarded after single use and become garbage.

Hazards of Burning of Plastics

Burning of plastic is the most serious domestic pollution. When plastic is burned, it produces both smoke and fumes, which are pungent. These fumes make our breathing problematic and it is very bad for the people with asthma and respiratory problem. It can cause dizziness and nausea to some people.

They are very harmful for the lungs and can cause serious diseases. According to Dr. Brian Graham, President and CEO of Lung Association of SK, Canada, "The burning of plastic grain bags releases chemicals into the air that we all breathe, causing serious lung damage and contributing to other long-term health problems. For people with lung diseases such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, even a single exposure to this type of smoke can worsen their disease".

In Manipur burning of plastics is very common it is being done in every household almost every week. Plastic pollution is very common here aesthetically, it is worst form of pollution, but burning is a serious health hazard. In winter, the smoke of the plastics combining with evening fog hangs very low and remain as smog and continue to disturb for a long time. But one can see burning of plastic everywhere, in the garbage dumps in Imphal market, in the landfills, in the riversides, roadsides everywhere. Nobody seems to care a little bit of the health hazards it is causing.

In addition, researchers have also found high concentration of persistent free radicals. The free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules which damage body tissues. They are present both in the soot and the solid residual ash which are considered to be very important in the creation of adverse health effects especially to human lungs.

Pollutants released in Plastic burning

While burning Plastic, in addition to CO2, a number of heavy metals including lead, cadmium, chromium and copper have been found in the smoke and the solid residue ash which can be very harmful for the lungs. While burning plastic, a highly toxic fume called dioxin is produced due to the action of heat on plastic compounds. Another compound DEHP (or Di-octyl phthalate DOP) which is one of the plasticizers used in plastic manufacturing is also released.

It is also one of the dioxins. This compound is a probable human carcinogen, a potential endocrine disruptor and is believed to be harmful by inhalation, generating possible health risks and irreversible effects. It affects the immune systems also. Vinyl Chloride, precursor of PVC has been identified by WHO as human carcinogen. These compounds are also released during the combustion of plastic. In addition, there are many other pollutants such as Carbon Monoxide (CO), Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Particulate Matters (PMs), Aldehydes etc. released.

Another form of releasing pollutants is that the plastics are not burnt fully. It is always partially burnt as it gets stuck to other substances such as soil and ash and stops burning. Such materials remain in the soil for a long time releasing the toxic substances to the water, soil and air slowly.

The shreds of plastic in the soil become harbour for disease causing organisms. There is no chance of getting away from such pollutions.

Plastics are to be disposed off carefully. No biodegradable materials should be kept inside polybags so that rag pickers can sort them out. But our normal practice is that we put everything inside a plastic carry bag and throw it in to the rivers or drains.

At the best, we give it to volunteers of solid waste disposal groups. Then the plastic cannot be recycled or reused. If burned, it releases the toxic fumes. Then how such waste can be treated without burning? Burning has to stop. There should not be any question that why should it be stopped, it has to be stopped at any cost.

Rules to regulate Plastic Waste

The Central Government is empowered to frame environment related rules Under Sec. 3, 5 and 25 of Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and the central government has framed the Plastic Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. The same is adopted in the state of Manipur also. As per Rule 5 of this rule, all plastic carry bags should be above 40 Ám and should be white in colour. As per Rule 8, while marketing, the thickness of the bags should be labelled. Rule 10 says that no free plastic bags should be provided to the customers by the shops and vendors and plastic carry bags should be reusable ones and conforming to prescribed thickness. They should be explicitly priced to cover waste management cost also.

Certain important aspect of plastic waste is missing. The irregular disposal of plastic has been left out totally. The large scale burning of plastics and throwing of plastics inside water channels, drainages and littering in public places have not been mentioned in the rules.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was set up under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 to expeditiously dispose the environmental and forests cases without following CPC. It was a follow up of the global climate initiatives and hastened by the WP (C) No. 202/1995. A few days back, it passed an order banning burning of Plastic and rubber. This order also banned recycling of plastic by unregistered units. The order of the tribunal would certainly give a fillip to the existing rules and pollution control boards in controlling the burning of plastics and other harmful polymers.

Conclusion

Now the question is, how we can reduce plastic waste as reducing is the most important step in controlling the waste. Getting rid of plastic is difficult, they do not dissolve, burying is again not the solution as they are not decomposed that easily. They can be carried away by wind and water, ultimately end up in the lakes, rivers and oceans. There, they break in to pieces and remain in the water or soil. They take one thousand years to decompose.

In the open air, the UV rays act upon them, and they go on releasing toxic chemicals continuously. Till we come up with commercially viable biodegradable polymers such as PLA (Polylactic Acid) and bio plastics, the only option left is to replace plastic with cloth bags, hessian cloth bags, paper bags etc. Single use Polythene bags known as Disposable Bags are banned in most states. These bags of lower gauges constitute 95% of plastic pollution and these are the plastics being burnt everywhere.

If plastic bags are to be used, then it should be within limits prescribed by the Pollution Control Boards. So, if we carry plastic bags, it should be heavy duty bags, reusable ones, which should last at least for half a year or one year or more. If we reuse the carry bags, we can reduce plastic waste in our family by 90%. The waste unavoidably generated after this can be carefully disposed by sending for recycling (there are various ways of recycling prescribed under Rule 6) thus we can reduce plastic waste to zero. The plastic waste is also used in the landfills. It is slightly safer, but not totally free from dangers to human beings.

So, carry shopping bags when you go for buying something that is most important action you can do to keep away cancer. It is such a simple action that we all can and must do. If you can't avoid using plastic bags, remember that you are inviting cancer.


* Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on December 27, 2013.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Covid-19: Manipur Strategy to Prevent & Win
  • Status Update 29 March: Medical Directorate
  • Covid-19 or Racism, which one to fight first ?
  • MHA to Chief Secys of States [Mar 29]
  • Home Delivery- Imphal Dists [Mar 29]
  • Shop List opened - Bishenpur [March 29]
  • Covid-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Violating anti-defection law
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #2
  • Manipur Govt Orders [28 March] : Gallery
  • Status Update 28 March: Medical Directorate
  • Medical material airlifted from Delhi to Imphal
  • Coronavirus Combat; not just Govt's fight
  • Lack of availability of Medicines, Water..
  • Research to plug gaps in COVID-19 testing
  • RIMS areas disinfected - [March 26] : Gallery
  • Makanmi, Namthujin, Sayoni: eMing
  • Status Update 27 March: Medical Directorate
  • Manipur Govt Orders/Directives : 27 March
  • FEGOCTA donate 1 Day Salary to CM's Fund
  • Cure for COVID
  • What a respect to the caregivers !
  • Charity Mission Committee on COVID-19
  • NH7 Weekender : Online music festival
  • Lockdown amid curfew
  • PDS rice to CMHT excluded Keishamthong?
  • Curfew in Imphal - [March 24] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 helpline numbers in Manipur
  • Screening at Mao [Mar 20] : Gallery
  • COVID 19 & Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
  • Decoding Tax Jargon through March Ending
  • NPF urged Nagaland Govt on COVID-19
  • Food items to Child Care Institutes
  • Hand rub bottles manufactured & distributed
  • Studying the total shutdown in Manipur
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Social Distancing observed [Mar 25] : Gallery
  • An appeal to all on COVID19
  • What is love ? :: Poem
  • Career option in Geomagnetism
  • Kohima gets a brand new song
  • Communique on Covid-19 : Nagaland Oppn
  • CM Covid-19 Relief Fund created
  • 12 on board flight with patient quarantined
  • Quiet celebration of Cheiraoba
  • Quarantine started- Mao -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Leikai Public curfew -Mar 24 : Gallery
  • Stop stigma of Covid 19 +Positive Friends
  • Media : Essential services during lockdown
  • Acts of Kindness, Unity among Communities
  • Racist attacks on people from North-east
  • A friend in need is a friend indeed
  • Enforce total lockdown in Nagaland :: NPCC
  • Ugly response to positive case of COVID-19
  • First Case in Manipur
  • Lamphel Nawa Kombirei at Cheiraoba
  • Woman returned from UK has Coronavirus
  • Screening at Mao - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Why PM want Leishemba to be RS MP #1
  • Janata Curfew - 'Go corona' festival
  • Panacea for Economic Collapse: COVID-19
  • Total Lockdown till March 31st
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba - Meitei New Year Day
  • Giving racial twist to coronavirus
  • Need action to those mocking PM
  • COVID: Janata Curfew -Mar 22 #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Govt Orders - Mar 22 : Gallery
  • Status Update 22 March: Medical Dir Lamphel
  • We will get by. We will survive.
  • Covid-19: Impact in Manipur :: Photos/News..
  • War against Corona
  • What ails Indian Railways
  • Appeal to Govt during COVID 19 crisis
  • Hats off to the men in white
  • COVID-19: Ima Keithel -March 21 : Gallery
  • Bandh on March 21 : Gallery
  • Social Justice & Democracy in Northeast
  • Sociology of Coronavirus
  • COCOMI extended help to victims of Chassad
  • The Omnipresent Fear :: Poem
  • MU Chemistry Dept makes hand sanitisers
  • COVID-19 : A blessing for Khwairamband
  • Wakching Thagi Sanarei #2 :: eRang
  • Who will rebuild Chahsat village ?
  • The untameable :: Poem
  • Importance of Fish & Fishery in Manipur
  • Challenges for female entrepreneur in India
  • The Killing Fields 2013-20 : News Timeline
  • How well prepared is Manipur?
  • More seriousness needed to fight COVID-19
  • Khongu NangGi Baasi :: Shumang Leela
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress #1 : Gallery
  • Journalistic Challenges in Reporting Chassad
  • Paneer Our Daughter's Delight
  • Civil Site Engineer / Site Manager
  • Architectural Designer at R-Square
  • Research Officer - Financial at Amethyst
  • Chinky to Coronavirus: Racial profiling chain
  • Promises, prosperity, Rights & Responsibility
  • Wars, Devastation & events in Kakching #1
  • When Chassad Blazed Our Hearts Burnt
  • Nagas entering final phase of power struggle
  • Climate change & predator : Any link?
  • Restore Chassad village to normal condition
  • The other side of Covid-19
  • Is Manipur taking adequate steps?
  • Silencing the voice of dissent
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati #3 : Gallery
  • Condemns the burning at Chassad Village
  • Conduct fact finding mission at Kamjong
  • Lost at the edge of uncertainty!
  • Global Youth Peace Conclave postponed
  • Entrance exams after 10 + 2
  • Workshop organized on Einstein's birthday
  • Titular King in the race for RS
  • Coronavirus, H1N1 & garbage in Imphal
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #2 : Gallery
  • Restoring Chassad- the village with no house
  • Manipur Maharaj & House of Lords
  • COVID-19 : Hand sanitizers at Bangalore
  • Appeal to install Covid-19 test in Nagaland
  • Communal violence & over-lap ethnic aspiration
  • Understanding Ponzi scheme
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • Nano Technology in Bio Organic Fertilizer
  • Joydev Thongam: Story behind the muscles
  • COVID-19: Agent to end Economic Globalisation
  • Cannabis in HIV and AIDS
  • Is society gender-sensitive enough ?
  • Day light Thabal Chongba #1 : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Imphal : Gallery
  • International Rivers Day at Kangoi Area
  • Getting workplace ready for COVID-19
  • A Tale on Yaoshang :: Poem
  • India's improving journo-murder index
  • But Leishemba should also act politically
  • Yaoshang Marathon @ Singjamei : Gallery
  • Wangkhem Rezia : Success Stories NE
  • Guwahati Music Festival #2 : Gallery
  • A Beautiful Mind :: Poem
  • Of Purity and Arrival of Spring
  • Fr Biju Michael - Salesian South Asia
  • Yaoshang Cheng Khaiba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Khwairamband : Gallery
  • Intl Women's Day @ Bangalore : Gallery
  • Women's health & nutirition - A glance
  • Manipur band wins at Guwahati Intl Music Fest
  • Human Beings as a bait in battle of Vice
  • 2019 Year review : Ministry of AYUSH #2
  • Journalist Sports Meet: Winner announced
  • Manipur schools to close till March 31
  • Shah's Manipur visit postponed
  • Family of late Shaiza clarifies
  • Yaoshang Rock @Sagolband :: Gallery
  • MOU - Guest House at Mandalay :: Gallery
  • #VOLUNTEER4HEALTH launched at Delhi
  • Summer breeze and Autumn leaves :: Poem
  • Why afraid of corona ?
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Bangalore postponed
  • 2nd year of PDA..lots of controversy
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba :: Gallery
  • Until the right time, I had let you go :: Poem
  • Festival of Holi- Brahma Kumaris concept
  • Women studies as career choice
  • Consultative meeting with NPF Manipur
  • Condemns killing, calls for action against AR
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa @ Kangla :: Gallery
  • Health Camp at Pune :: Gallery
  • International Women's Day at Bangalore
  • Universal access to sexual health services
  • Health Camp on Women's Day at Pune
  • More employment for our politicians
  • Gender Resource Centre in Agriculture
  • Entry points at Indo-Myanmar border sealed
  • Peace rallies urge PM for early Naga solution
  • Reversing masculinization of India's workforce
  • Torch Rally: Journalist Sports: Gallery
  • CAA - An Act of isolation & destruction
  • Economic growth or grimmer ..Coronavirus
  • Tribal Youth Fest Marks Women's Day
  • Holi skin and hair care tips
  • Politics of South China Sea Disputes : Book
  • CM's appeal : Scale down Yaoshang revelry
  • 1st Barak Festival @Senapati: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang (Holi) Festival :: Book
  • Churup Ki Mahao : Short story
  • Gender equality still a distant dream
  • Remove Chairperson, Women Commission
  • Celebrating Women's day
  • Phisakol - Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • yeniHTa :: Seireng
  • N Romeo promoted to Brigadier at Army
  • Cry of a Dying River
  • Never closer & this is only beginning
  • Vacancy at Info Trade, Lamphelpat
  • Ugly development at exam centre
  • Govt should think before dealing Salai case
  • Yaoshang Thabal Peisa donation: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival [Nov 28] #2 : Gallery
  • Message from a breast cancer thriver
  • Leishangthem Bala : NE Success Stories
  • A Bhakta: Treasurer- Indian Journalist Union
  • The unique 63 Saints Festival
  • Restrictions on Thabal Chongba
  • Essence of celebrating Yaoshang
  • World Meetei Convention @Cachar : Gallery
  • Women Empowerment :: Poem
  • Licypriya Kangujam to address at Washington
  • Bringing Into Disrepute ?
  • 10th Journalist Sports Meet, 2020
  • Women in Armed Forces
  • The virtues of virtual marketing
  • Negligence by child institution of Imphal East
  • From Wuhan to over 70 countries
  • Killer virus reaches neighbouring Myanmar
  • Lui-ngai-ni, Naga festival @Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • 13th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 : Gallery
  • A fish in the jar :: Poem
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Guwahati Intl Music Festival : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • March Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Wakching Thana Lakpada #2 :: eRang
  • Students @ Class XII Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Bangladeshki Sana Tampha #1 :: eRang
  • Manipur Legislative Assembly Building : Gallery
  • Eepan Thaba -birth ceremony : Gallery
  • Apple Farm @ Kumbi : Gallery
  • Coronavirus prevention @ Moreh : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai at Kakhulong #2 : Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS