ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Environmental experts on Friday said the use of plastic bag was one of the major environmental hazards that affected every aspects of our life as it causing fatal diseases.
Institute of Environmental Engineering and Research Abdul Jabbar while talking to private news channel said that thousands of plastic factories are producing tons of plastic bags which are very popularly used by the people for shopping purposes because of its ease, cheapness and convenience of use but their very hazardous negative impact is never highlighted or, at the very least, openly discussed in a more serious tone.
He said the polythene bags pose a number of health hazards and are not recommended by the health experts it cannot be disposed off it involves mixing a small quantity of petroleum based compound or olefin with the polyethylene resins.
Environmental expert stressed the need for creating awareness among the general public about rational use of plastic in their daily chores and also promoting use of recyclable material instead of plastic. “It is a persistent chemical and takes hundreds of years before degrading”.
Experts highlighted the accumulation of plastic bag wastes in our country has caused environmental pollution that has manifested in a number of ways. One of the problems is the deterioration of natural beauty of an environment.
Just take a look around you. It is a common sight to see plastic bags hanging from the branches of trees, poles, traffic lights, fences and towers. They also clog up gutters and drains causing water and sewage to overflow and become the breeding grounds for germs and bacteria thus causing diseases in most townships, he added.
Assistant Professor of Department of Environmental Sciences Ali Shaukat said that the polluted air, when inhaled by humans and animals, affects their health and can cause respiratory problems.
Furthermore, if plastic bags get access to agricultural fields, they reduce percolation of water and proper aeration in the soil, he said.
In addition, plastic bags have that inherent property that even though very thin, roots of crops fail to pierce them in order to move around the soil for natural nutrients as this results in the reduction of productivities of such fields.
Likewise, as plastic bags are washed into rivers and end up in the oceans, they threaten aquatic organisms such as fish and wading birds in a number of ways because once they are entangled in plastic debris, they end up suffocating or drowning, dying from starvation or from their inability to escape from predators.
While the government may be working out ways to lessen the impact of plastic bags on the environment such as the ban on use of plastic bags and disposable bottles, each one of us should shoulder the responsibility for this problem by encouraging the use of paper bags since they are compostable as well as the promotion of reusable bags or woven shopping baskets, they concluded.