LEAN AND MEAN I’M POLYTHENE

Almost every product we buy, most of the food we eat and many of the liquids we drink come encased in polythene. Some say our life seems to be wrapped in polythene !

Every once in a while the authorities pass out an order interdicting shop keepers from providing plastic bags to customers for carrying their purchases, its effect is ,however fugacious. Plastic bags are very popular with both retailers as well as consumers because they are cheap, impregnable, impervious, lightweight and utilitarian. They are certainly a convenient means of carrying food as well as other goods ; but we forget their long term ramifications.

However seemingly innocuous, they secretly destroy our ecology. They are responsible for causing pollution, killing wildlife, and using up the treasured resources of the earth.

The decomposition of polythene bags takes about 1000 years. For all practical purposes, they can be called non-biodegradable. The reason traditional plastics are not biodegradable is because their long polymer molecules are too large and too tightly bonded together to be broken apart and assimilated by living organisms.

Traditional plastics are manufactured from non-renewable resources – oil, coal and natural gas. That means another large misuse of the precious resource the earth has.

Even though they are one of the modern conveniences that seem to be a necessity , their usage is simply deleterious in the long run for our planet from either angle. Too costly to produce and impossible to extirpate !

About a hundred billion plastic bags are used each year in the US alone. And then, when one considers the massive economies and flummoxing populations of India, China, Europe, and other parts of the world, the numbers can be staggering. The problem is further worsened by the developed countries which often ship off their plastic waste to developing countries.

Harmful effects of plastic bags are numerous. Once they are used, most plastic bags go into landfill, or rubbish tips. Each year more and more plastic bags end up littering the environment. Once they become litter, plastic bags find their way into our waterways, parks, beaches, and streets. And, if they are burned, they infuse the air with toxic fumes.

About 100,000 animals such as dolphins, turtles whales, penguins are killed every year due to plastic bags. Many animals ingest plastic bags, mistaking them for food, and therefore die. And worse, the ingested plastic bag remains intact even after the death and decomposition of the animal. Thus, it lies around in the landscape till another ravenous animal consumes it.

With the banning of plastic bags appearing to be such a sensible idea, what possible problems could there be?

People who are against the banning of plastic bags often cite the fact that plastic bags are very low priority when all the environmental issues of concern are taken into account. Even some green supporters are against the banning of bags, preferring instead to educate people and change habits rather than forcing the issue. Other people refer to the fact that the banning of plastic bags simply moves the problem elsewhere. Cities that have banned plastic bags often report an increase in the sale of plastic bin bags. Instead of plastic, paper bags are often used. These raise other issues, for instance the use of virgin paper pulp.

Some environmentalists who are opposed to the banning of bags fear that it breeds complacency. They are concerned that people may feel that they are making their contribution towards green living by not using plastic bags and overlooking the bigger issues. They argue that the big picture needs to be considered rather than focusing on smaller issues.

While it is undeniable that disposable plastic bags are a relatively small problem in the overall scheme of things, reducing their use is something we can all do. Governments and world organizations need to make decisions on some of the bigger environmental issues, however the reduction of the use of plastic bags is our individual obligation regardless of whether or not there is an official proscription.

Single-use bags, both paper and plastic, represent a huge threat to the environment. This threat is not only related to the sheer volume of them ending up in landfill, but also to the resources needed to produce, transport and (occasionally) recycle them, and the emissions resulting from these processes. Single-use plastic bags are also well known for their interference in ecosystems and the part they play in flood events, where they clog pipes and drains. Other animals or birds become entangled in plastic bags and drown or can’t fly as a result.

How about taking previously used bags with you next time you go to the shops? Or even better – turn back time and do as grandma did. Take a sturdy bag with you every time you go shopping. We do have an obligation towards the nature, lets restore it and make it as pristine as Grandma’s love !

 

  • Assimilated

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to consume and incorporate nutrients into the body after digestion

Synonyms : absorb, take in

  • Complacency

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : noun the feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself

Synonyms : smugness

  • Deleterious

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; harmful to living things

Synonyms : hazardous

  • Disposable

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; designed to be disposed of after use; free or available for use or disposition;

Other Meaning(s) : noun an item that can be disposed of after it has been used

Synonyms : dispensable

  • Exacerbated

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; diminished to be reduced to (a worse condition)

Synonyms : worsened

  • Extirpate

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; destroy completely, as if down to the roots

Other Meaning(s) : verb surgically remove (an organ); pull up by or as if by the roots;

Synonyms : uproot

  • Flummoxing

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; totally confusing or puzzling.

Synonyms : confounding

  • Fugacious

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; lasting a very short time

Synonyms : ephemeral, transient, transitory

  • Impervious

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; not admitting passage or capable of being affected

Synonyms : imperviable

  • Impregnable

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; able to withstand attack;

Other Meaning(s) : adjective; incapable of being overcome, challenged or refuted; capable of conceiving

Synonyms : inviolable

  • Indispensable

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; unavoidable; not to be dispensed with; essential; absolutely necessary; vitally necessary

Synonyms : obligatory

  • Ingest

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; serve oneself to, or consume regularly

Synonyms : devour

  • Innocuous

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; not injurious to physical or mental health; not causing disapproval; lacking intent or capacity to injure; unlikely to harm or disturb anyone

Synonyms : harmless

  • Insidiously

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; in a hidden harmful manner

Synonyms : perniciously

  • Interdict

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; ordering to refrain from doing something

Synonyms : prohibition , edict

 

Interdicting

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; showing inventiveness and skill; skillful (or showing skill) in adapting means to ends; (used of persons or artifacts) marked by independence and creativity in thought or action

Synonyms : resourceful, clever

  • Ingested

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to take food, liquid, or some other substance into the body by swallowing or absorbing

Synonyms : absorb, consume

  • Littering

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : act of dirtying or spoiling place

Synonyms : strewing

  • Obligation

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force

Other Meaning(s) : noun a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply; a personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favor; the state of being obligated to do or pay something;

Synonyms : indebtedness

  • Pristine

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; immaculately clean and unused; completely free from dirt or contamination

Synonyms : pure

  • Proscription

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; rejection by means of an act of banishing or prohibiting; a decree that prohibits something

Synonyms : banishment

  • Ramifications

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a development that complicates a situation

Other Meaning(s) : Noun; an arrangement of branching parts; the act of branching out or dividing into branches; a part of a forked or branching shape

Synonyms : complications

  • Ravenous

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; devouring or craving food in great quantities; extremely hungry

Synonyms : edacious

  • Staggering

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; so surprisingly impressive as to stun or overwhelm

Synonyms : astounding

  • Titanic

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; of great force or power or size

Synonyms : gargantuan

  • Treasured

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; characterized by feeling or showing fond affection for

Synonyms : cherished

  • Utilitarian

 

Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; having a useful function; having utility often to the exclusion of values;

Other Meaning(s) : noun someone who believes that the value of a thing depends on its utility

Synonyms : useful

 

 

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