Plastic 'epidemic' should be contained in time

Plastic Pollution (photo wikipedia)
Plastic pollution in a beach (Photo Wikipedia)

By Min Chol PT

There are so many plastic goods in the world that they have become an indispensable part of human life. However, they pose a serious problem of environmental destruction.

Only nine percent of the plastic goods produced on earth every year are recycled and 12 percent destroyed by fire, while the rest which takes up 79 percent is buried in the ground or thrown away.

Nowadays, plastic wastes are found everywhere in the world. A packaging bag of candy was found in the Mariana trench at a depth of 10 928m and the existence of large quantities of minute plastic particles was confirmed in the Alps and the North Pole.

A substantial amount of carbon dioxide is being emitted into the air during the production and combustion of plastic materials, which is estimated to reach 56 billion tons by 2050.

Moreover, while being degraded for a very long time, the plastic rubbish produces toxic substances, which enter through the food chain into the body of animals as well as of humans.

In this regard, the World Health Organization asserted that it is needed to conduct a closer investigation into the effect of minute plastic particles on the human body. Experts claim that the global plastic "epidemic" is one of the biggest challenges in the 21st century, saying an immediate action is required in order to protect the environment and save human lives.

Many countries are directing efforts to solving the plastic waste problem.

As they establish efficient plastic waste classification and recovery systems, they constantly increase the recovery rate and take measures for material compensation for the effort.

Some countries have developed a production process turning plastic wastes into fuel or building materials and even built roads with them.

According to an experiment, the road can stand up to the temperatures between minus 40 degrees to 80 degrees Celsius and is estimated to have a lifespan three years longer than the asphalt road.

Meanwhile, the development of substitutes for plastic is gaining momentum.

A company in Indonesia, known as the number-one seaweed producer, is using sea plants as the main ingredient of different kinds of packaging materials so that they are edible and soluble in hot water.

Other countries have also made some achievements in the plastic waste disposal such as the discovery of an enzyme that can degrade plastics.

However, it is still a long way away for the permanent disposal of plastic waste.

(Pyongyang Times - May 31, 2020)
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