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The Next 400 Years

May 27 2008 | Rise Above Plastics,
by Johnny

The Economic Times in India features an article about "The Next 400 Years," with the 400 years being the amount of time it takes for a plastic bag to "degrade." A short outline of the global devastation and a call to arms, follows.
It is estimated that globally, a million plastic bags are consumed every minute. India is a major contributor to this staggering statistic. This is a disaster already in the making. Why? Unfortunately, the list is long – but here is a flavour:
• Choked Drains : Light poly-bags settle in drains. They cause backflow and water logging. Poly-bag induced water logging triggers off landslides in the mountains.
• Soil Degradation : Poly-bags are non-porous and non-biodegradable. They obstruct free flow of water and air, choking the soil and suffocating plant roots. Toxic chemical additives cause soil quality degradation.
• Animal Deaths : Cows eat poly-bags and die. National Geographic estimates that over 100,000 marine animal deaths per year are directly related to ingestion of plastic bags
• Food Hazards : Most plastics today come from petrochemicals. Laboratory studies show that some of these chemicals are linked to cancer and kidney damage and may interfere with the reproductive system.
• Mosquito Breeding : Stray poly-bags act as receptacles of water, sufficient enough for mosquito breeding.
• Polluting Industry : Manufacture of poly-bags, mainly in small moulding shops, with no environmental standards involve hazardous materials and emit obnoxious gases posing serious problems for workers and the environment.
• Disposal Hazards : If disposed through landfills, poly-bags continue to pollute soil for many years. If burnt they emit hazardous gases that pollute the air.
Read the entire article here.
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