Biodegradable plastics: Green option for tackling plastic pollution
Authors: Namita Das Saha
Centre for Environment Science and Climate Resilient Agriculture (CESCRA)
Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa, New Delhi-110012, India


Introduction

Today's consumer driven society demands huge plastics for the manufacture of millions of products. Packaging materials largely contribute to the high demand of plastics. Our fast paced life styles demands convenience and single serving, pre-packaged foods also. The manufacturer of cost effective packaging that adequately protects the products is made possible by plastics only. There are three major forms of plastic that contribute to plastic pollution: micro-plastics as well as mega and macro-plastics. Mega and micro-plastics have accumulated in highest densities in the Northern Hemisphere, concentrated around urban centers and water fronts. The polyethylene based plastics are slow to degrade. Plastic pollution can unfavorably affect lands, waterways and oceans. Living organisms, particularly marine animals, can also be affected through entanglement, direct ingestion of plastic waste, or through exposure to chemicals within plastics that cause interruptions in biological functions. Humans are also affected by plastic pollution, such as through the disruption of the thyroid hormone axis or hormone levels. Plastic reduction efforts have occurred in some areas in attempts to reduce plastic consumption and pollution and promote plastic recycling. Apart from the plastic recycling, biodegradable plastic is one of the most attracting options for reducing the plastic pollution.






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About Author / Additional Info:
I am working as scientist at CESCRA, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi