We all are aware of how much our natural environment is getting cluttered and is already on the verge of losing its balance owing to the so-called modernization and development. The increasing use of resources and polluting agents have disturbed the natural form of the ecosystem, inflicting damage to the living organisms and the planet. The on-the-go lifestyle of people today is demanding more and more of disposable products, contributing a lot to the amount of garbage produced on daily basis. One of the primary culprits of this is plastic, which causes great harm to the environment and is the major contributor to the rising levels of land pollution.
Plastic, in various forms and uses, has become a part of our lifestyle in this twentieth century. It is common to see people going empty handed to grocery shops and returning with loads of plastic bags. One has to remember that the concern regarding plastic usage is too big to ignore. The trashed plastic bags along with its toxic compounds have a huge negative impact on the natural environment. In the current scenario, it is becoming one of the largest environmental threats faced globally.
While the ecological balance has been thrown off with the increasing plastic pollution, the planet’s health and the resources of future depend on how well we, as humans, preserve the environment and prevent the rising plastic led pollution.
Why are Plastic Bags Hazardous?
The primary reason why plastic bags are hazardous to the environment is that they are not biodegradable. Plastic bags when discarded can take centuries together to degenerate. Most of the plastic bags are made of ‘polyethylene’, which a thermoplastic made from petroleum oil. Since petroleum is a limited natural resource, it can get exhausted if used irrationally. Besides, it contains and emits numerous toxic chemicals not only while manufacturing but also when disposed into the landfills.
Once the plastic bags are disposed of, they break into synthetic granules, which are not completely decomposed into the earth. As a result, these plastic granules get mixed with the soil or groundwater around, thereby setting a permanent pollution for our ecosystem. Since plastic bags are non-biodegradable, they also lock up the water flows and draining systems causing severe blocks.
Furthermore, the littered plastic bags are quite costly to clear up and stay for long periods of time in the landfill, taking years to decompose. It is estimated that around 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. (http://www.slideshare.net/vmizner/the-dangers-of-plastic-bags-481738). Imagine how much plastic junk is being generated which is here to stay with us for almost forever!
Plastic bags not only harm the environment but also affect other living species, particularly cows, water birds, and marine animals that accidentally intake these bags from the garbage. The ingested plastic particles can choke or poison the wildlife, blocking their gut and harming the organism, either immediately or in the long run.
So, unless appropriate action is taken to prevent plastic bags usage or to recycle them, matters can get worse.
Simple Ways to Prevent Plastic Usage
Saying ‘no’ to plastic bags should not be a big deal. Of course, humans have lived years without it. Isn’t it? But what makes plastic the ‘indispensable thing’ in today’s life is its easy use and durability. It is important to understand the impacts it brings on the environment and hence each and every one of us should contribute actively to stop the usage of plastic in our lives. Keep a jute or cotton bag handy with you whenever you go out. Here are a few ways we can minimize the usage of plastics in our daily lives at least by a bit:
- Do not insist on having a plastic bag, unless it is a necessity or the only option left out.
- Stop getting plastic bags for all commodities you purchase. Reduce its usage to as much as possible.
- Don’t throw old bags carelessly into the trash. You might not know which animal might consume it.
- Always prefer to recycle your used plastic bags. This way you can preserve the environment and reduce wastage.
When people collectively be little more conscious of their actions, it can help the environment sustain its balance. We, at the K.R. Mangalam School, believe that not only adults but even children should be taught of the ways to prevent usage of plastic bags so that they can get habituated to the practice and responsibly contribute to creating a better environment tomorrow. Being the next generation citizens, our children should have a better understanding of the need to use the natural resources appropriately and not waste or damage the environment in any way. Since plastic usage is common in every household, children should know what role they personally play in the big picture of plastic pollution and how they can help make a difference.
This is why, we, at the K.R. Mangalam School, always see to it that besides instilling the students with the best of academic knowledge, we also educate them about the environment so that they grow up conscious of the existing pollution issues and learn to practice the necessary abstinence for a healthier future environment. We encourage all our students as well as the staff to not to bring/use plastic bags in any form. We conduct awareness sessions for children and teachers against the ill-effects of excessive use of plastic. There are activities for kids where they are encouraged to prepare posters and slogans related to the topic so that they get to know about the issue.
We strive to teach our students about the alarming levels of plastic pollution, and most importantly, about how to prevent it by making a commitment to change oneself. We also educate them about recycling and how to reduce our dependency on plastics. This way, students not only get aware of the dangers of plastic usage but also get to know the solutions. At K.R. Mangalam School, we take all the necessary actions to minimize the use of plastic within the campus, so that we can contribute our bit towards building a better and healthier environment for the next generation.
It is a fact that the upcoming generation is merely inheriting the mess unintentionally created by the previous generations. Hence, if the younger generation is shown the right means to deal with the environmental problems at an early age, they can certainly make a difference and turn it around. In that sense, K.R. Mangalam is providing its students with an educative agenda that is broad enough to discuss and solve environmental issues. Our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to deal with the social problems in an authentic and meaningful way.