Most of the articles used in everyday life are made up of plastics. For example, plastic chairs, tables, bottles, fabric, etc. Plastic is a polymer which has linear or cross-linked arrangement.
Problems associated with Excessive Use of Plastics
Plastics are broadly classified into two categories, namely thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic. The plastics which soften on heating are known as thermoplastics. This is the reason due to which a bottle gets deformed on pouring hot water in it. There are plastics which once molded cannot be soften by heating, they are known as thermosetting plastic. Bakelite and melamine are examples in this case. Bakelite is a bad conductor of heat and electricity hence it is used in electrical wires and handles of utensils. Whereas melamine is a fire resistor which is used in making fire resistant fabrics.
How useful are plastics
Plastics are highly useful because they are non-reactive and can store chemicals. Due to their light weight, strength and durability they can be molded into any shape and size as required. Plastics are poor conductors of heat and electricity. Therefore they are used as coating material for electric wires and handles of containers. Plastic bags are widely used today for wrapping food and other such things. This results in accumulation of plastics in our homes. Plastics face a big problem during disposal.
Materials which get decomposed by the action of bacteria in nature are called biodegradable. Whereas materials which do not get decomposed by natural processes are known as non-biodegradable. Plastic takes several years to get decomposed which is not environmental friendly and causes pollution. Burning of plastic is a very slow process and they do not get burnt completely. This causes air pollution because poisonous gases are released in the environment during combustion of plastics. When exposed to fire, most plastics melt and then after sometime they from a hard mass. Accumulation of plastics in water bodies disturbs the marine ecosystem. Therefore use of plastic should be reduced in order to promote a sustainable growth. An alternative method is recycling of plastics. Thermoplastics can be recycled and reused.
As a responsible citizen one should follow the concept of four R’s that is reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. This will promote a clean and healthy environment. In a clean environment, the life span will increase.