The curse of plastic

Synopsis : The curse of plastic pollution is a very serious matter because it is increasingly becoming a menace to all living beings in many parts of the world where no effective measures are taken to control it. In some countries the waste plastic is put to innovative use that is discussed in the blog.

The curse of plastic


Source: Google photo

When I was growing up in India, I was always asked to run errands for the family. I had to fall in line early in the morning to buy subsidized wheat, rice and sugar. I had to buy kerosene and I had to go to the central market every month to buy a long list of things that the family needed. I had to even fall in line at 4 am in the coal yard to buy 20 kgs of coal that was allowed per family per week due to an artificial coal shortage.

But what I remembered most was that I had to gather all the cloth bags I could find in the house before I went to buy things. These bags were made of old pants and discarded clothes so came in very handy for marketing.

In every shop I went to, I was given the goods in a paper bag made of newspapers. In fact the old newspapers were never thrown away by my father but a fellow came every month to buy them at the rate of 1 or 2 Rupees a kilo who then resold them to the people who made paper bags out of them so the paper was recycled this way. This practice is still in vogue in India and gives employment to many people who make paper bags for the shops.

Someone also came to buy used clothes and shoes or glass or metal and my Ma got ceramic jars for her pickles in return so everything was recycled although I still do not know what they did with used clothes or shoes. I did not know the scale of this recycling nationwide until much later and was very impressed. If someone could make money out of recycling, it was done.

The municipal trucks came frequently to collect the household garbage which consisted mainly of vegetable peals and such and dumped the truck loads of garbage in low-lying areas of the city and slowly filled them up. It served the purpose of garbage disposal and the land was reclaimed that became a valuable property where new residential houses came up later. If you go there now, you will never realize that 50 years ago this was a low land full of water and a breeding ground of mosquitos. Now there are beautiful buildings and paved roads with neon street lights. My town went through this magic transformation over a period of time using garbage as filler.

With this background in mind let us fast forward to the present day and see the proliferation of plastic in a way beyond belief although India has taken drastic steps to curb this menace of plastic and banned their use outright in many states.

When I lived in Sudan, I was shocked to see the barbed wire fences for miles stuck with plastic that flew in the wind everywhere. There was plastic in the streets, in the fences, in the garbage piles, in the farms and even in places where you should not expect to find.

As soon as you arrive at the market to buy a few things, you will be assailed by the Kish boys who hang around with stacks of plastic bags in their hand and want you to buy them. Plastic is called Kish in Arabic.

I saw no one going to the market with a bag in hand like we used to so they buy the plastic bags from the kish boys and throw it away as soon as they get home. It then proliferates and covers the land like a scourge. What is worse is it finds its way to the river or water source and pollutes them as well.

The problem has gotten so out of hand that now plastic materials float in the vast oceans and cover the size of Texas in the Pacific creating enormous problems for the marine life.

The marine birds like albatross swallow bits of plastic and die in large numbers. The sea mammals get tangled in plastic and nylon mesh and die. There is no end in sight to this massive pollution and there is no international effort to clean up the oceans. On the contrary, more countries are dumping their plastic wastes surreptitiously into the water or dump them in a third country where corrupt officials take bribe to do so.

When I go to the supermarket here, what I see is shocking. I see every bit of vegetable wrapped in cellophane that we have to then unwrap and throw away so it all ends up in a land fill somewhere. The local municipal office has banned the use of plastic bags in the market so now the supermarkets sell cloth bags or bags made of non-plastic material that people are obliged to buy because they go shopping without bags. I suspect that this habit is more cultural than anything else because surely they all have tons of bags at home but always go to market without them out of habit. I should say bad habit.

My wife is an exception because she hates plastic and always goes to the market with lots of bags and is very organized. She even gives her bags to someone who is in need but people have bad habits and they seldom learn.

I saw the same bad habit in Australia where people go shopping without bags and are forced to buy the bags from the supermarket at two or three Aussie dollars apiece and accumulate them at home .Still they forget to bring them the next time around.

We all know how serious the matter is when we see a landfill somewhere where the trucks unload their contents daily or even hourly. There you will find poor people including bare feet children scavenging in the garbage piles for anything they can collect and sell for recycling. Often you hear of tragic cases where the mountain of garbage collapses on them burying them alive and yet the pile grows.

We generate all this garbage nationwide and worldwide that we do not care about because the garbage truck comes to take it all away. We do not care where it goes and what people do with it. We do not care if it all ends up in the ocean as long as it is taken away and out of our sight.

Now I appreciate how in India they recycle garbage and plastic and use it to fill up low-lying swampy areas and build houses there later. One fellow who recycles metals recovered from the garbage dump in Mumbai and turns them into shiny pots and pans says he makes about 30000 Rupees every month for his effort and he only works part-time.

But in Western countries like the United States, people throw away a mind-boggling amount of things including plastic that end up in the garbage dump somewhere. Plastic and paper products comprise a big part of what they throw away but glass ,metal and even electronic trash is thrown away not to mention toxic waste that come out of thousands of hospitals.


Source : Google photo

One fellow in Poland collects the plastic for free because it is garbage that nobody wants and melts it down to a thick paste into which he adds color and injects this colored molten plastic paste into molds that turn out beautiful roof tiles. He jumps up and down on the roof to show how strong the tiles are and how beautiful they look. He is now exporting his tiles to other EU countries and makes tons of money.

So if others follow his example then a very large volume of this unwanted plastic can be reused this way but initially they will need financial assistance from the government to set up their factories and buy the machines needed to make such products.

Poor people know how to scavenge through the garbage pile and pick up a few things they can recycle at a terrible cost to their health but do not have the money or resources like that Polish fellow to set up a tile factory. This is where the governments can play a crucial role. They can set up schemes where they help new entrepreneurs set up plastic recycling plants that can generate employment and income.

Secondly, they must enact laws that prohibit the use of plastic cellophane wrappers in the supermarket or anywhere. If the source of the garbage is stopped then it can go a long way to solve the problem.

I know that in some countries like Iceland, they generate power by burning the plastic but that too has its environmental cost because the burned plastic generates toxic fumes.

Now an Italian scientist has discovered a plastic eating worm that she hopes to extract the plastic degenerating enzyme from and perhaps someday put it to commercial use at a large-scale but it is still in the laboratory phase and will take time to make it a success if at all.

In the meantime the scientists need to work on developing self-destructing or degenerating plastic that will crumble into harmless dust after a short time but that is in the future. Meanwhile what to do with the trillions of tons of plastic garbage everywhere? Soon they will run out of landfills because no one wants a garbage dump near their city or town but keep on producing garbage that has to go somewhere.

The only solution as I see it is in stopping making the garbage in the first place. You can do it in several ways.

  1. Stop buying plastic bags and bring your own cloth bag for shopping that can be reused hundreds of times.
  2. Stop buying canned products that are made with harmful preservatives that are a health hazard. This will reduce the metal cans in the dump.
  3. Segregate your garbage into recyclable bins. Glass, plastic, metal, paper, styrofoam can all be recycled so bring them to the processing centers regularly.
  4. Make a pit where all your vegetable peels and other organic matters can be thrown into to make wonderful compost that you can use in your garden.
  5. Donate your old clothes, shoes, books, magazines etc. to poor people. Someone will collect them and send them to the children in Somalia or Ethiopia where they will value them.
  6. Teach your children not to be wasteful and to be mindful of the environment. If we cannot reduce the pollution then at least we should not add to it.
  7. Make an organized effort to gather environment conscious people like children and clean up the streams and parks in your neighborhood by collecting garbage especially plastic and metal cans and help maintain cleanlines
  8. 220px-Maathai_and_Obama_in_NairobiFollow the example of Wangari Maathai in Kenya who single-handedly organized to plant hundreds of thousands of trees nationwide to make Kenya green again. She did it by asking the village women to collect seeds from the forest and raise their nurseries in every village and plant the trees later. You too can plant trees that will one day grow into lovely forest and clean up the air.People in Uttar Pradesh in India recently made into Guinness book of records by planting several million trees in one single day but for that to happen, one needs to plant seeds on a massive scale in nurseries and then organize thousands of people, transport them and the trees and give them tools to plants the trees with. This massive effort required government assistance but individually you too can do a lot like Wangari Maathai. She received Nobel Prize for her effort of planting trees.

9       Say No to plastic in every country and find a suitable alternative.

10.    Stop buying bottled water because it adds to the problem of the  plastic bottles thrown away. Clean tap water in most countries is quite drinkable unless you live in Flint. One fellow has built a lovely home using large plastic bottles filled with colored water and built the walls with it. The sunlight comes in through the colored water and creates dazzling rainbow colors inside the house in the United States. You too can be so creative if you just try.

I hope this article will somehow make you more conscious of the serious problem created by plastic waste everywhere and take the steps necessary to fight this problem. If I succeed in making you an environmental warrior then the purpose of this blog with be worthwhile. Wangari Maathai is wishing you good luck from her grave.


Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски


4 thoughts on “The curse of plastic

  1. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before butafter browsing through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me.Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I came across itand I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!


  2. Hi there, I found your website by way of Google while searching for a
    related topic, your website showed up, it looks great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.


  3. I was pretty pleased to uncover this page. I wanted to thank you
    for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every part of it
    and i also have you saved as a favorite to see new stuff on your site.

    Can I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who actually knows what they’re talking about on the net.
    You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story.
    I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

    Excellent blog post. I certainly appreciate this website.

    Keep writing!

    It’s hard to find educated people for this topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


    You should be a part of a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the net.
    I will recommend this web site!

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more on this
    subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people do not talk about these issues.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

    Hi there! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for
    your great information you have got here on this post.
    I will be returning to your web site for more soon.

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time
    a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment.
    Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service?

    on with this write-up, I actually believe this web site needs
    much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more,
    thanks for the advice!

    You are so awesome! I don’t believe I have read anything like that before.

    So good to find someone with some genuine thoughts on this
    subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up.
    This web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

    I quite like reading a post that will make people think.
    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    Right here is the right webpage for anyone who would like to understand this topic.
    You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not
    that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that
    has been discussed for ages. Great stuff, just excellent!

    Aw, this was a very good post. Spending some time and actual effort to
    generate a top notch article… but what can I
    say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly
    anything done.

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both
    educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve
    hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy I came across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am having problems with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there
    anybody having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly
    respond? Thanks!!

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this.
    And he actually bought me breakfast due to the
    fact that I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for
    spending some time to talk about this matter here on your site.

    After checking out a number of the blog articles on your web page, I honestly appreciate your
    technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will
    be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and tell me how you feel.

    This website truly has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    There’s definately a lot to find out about this topic. I love all the points you
    have made.

    You made some good points there. I looked on the web for more info about the issue and found most
    individuals will go along with your views on this website.

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be helpful to read through content from other writers and practice
    something from other sites.

    I blog often and I seriously appreciate your information. This article has really peaked my interest.
    I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once
    per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this information.

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It’s the little changes that will make the
    greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

    Hello there, I do think your web site might be having web browser compatibility issues.
    Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E.,
    it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to
    give you a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic site!

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after looking at many of the posts
    I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely
    delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

    I need to to thank you for this excellent read!!
    I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I’ve got you book marked
    to look at new things you post…

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am
    going to return yet again since i have saved as a favorite it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich
    and continue to help others.

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from.

    Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this

    I used to be able to find good info from your blog posts.

    Very good post! We are linking to this great article on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise info… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your site!

    Great post. I will be going through some of these issues as well..

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning
    this article plus the rest of the site is very good.

    Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to
    find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate
    individuals like you! Take care!!

    This is a topic that’s near to my heart… Many thanks!
    Exactly where are your contact details though?

    I seriously love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did
    you create this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own personal blog and want to find out where
    you got this from or just what the theme is called.

    I love it when folks get together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!

    Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have bookmarked it for later!

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Appreciate

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues.

    It was definitely informative. Your website is useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.

    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me
    to get my own site now 😉


Comments are closed.