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The Unilateralism of Plastic vs The Polymorphism of nature

ARAFATH BABAR; As the 18th century started its pace in the shape of ‘Industrialization’ in UK it wasn’t until 1862 Sir Alexander Parkes created the first of its kind, the one and the only organic ‘Plastic’ which revolutionized the era itself. The functionality of the organic plastic amused everyone in a global scale in such a way that in 1907 ‘’Leo Baekeland’’ invented the synthetic plastic which we know as the modern era Plastic. As it paved the way of a modern day chores and task easy-going and created multinational millionaires, it also came at a great price in the form of devastative pollution of our environment. Nat-geo estimated around 8.3 billion metric tons plastic waste which is around 79% of produced plastic and plastic materials, is becoming trash. As it turns out, researchers conducting the world’s first tally of plastic production and its dispositions, were terrified by the sheer size of  its ever increasing numbers and  the harmful effect of plastic waste that has been expressing itself in the form of ravaging world’s largest eco-system; The Marine ecosystem. So it is only fair and legitimate argument  to oppose against materials that produces plastic waste on a daily basis .On the other hand, if we consider banning plastic and   all the produced materials there shall be an era of 17th century where we will be using non-durable components; needless to say that would be made from land and marine animals. Once a revolutionary invention which is gradually ruining our environment, filling up our lands and oceans and harming thousand of animals; also making our daily life more easier and convenient. Hence the time for the world to realize and recognizing the problem is over and resolving while keeping the modern era pace continuing; seems to be the call of the decade.

 

Of course we cannot deny the fact that without plastic as the time would have pass, there would not have any system for you to view and for me to write this essay itself. Plastic manufacturing companies are providing us with the most convenient choice opposed to hunting animals for their skin, bladder and other organic materials that can be used in our daily life . Research shows that majority of our day to day products including the smart phone, without which our daily life seems unimaginable, is made out of plastic. According to INSH.world –

‘’Without any plastic, we’d be stuck in the 1870, still using non-durable and hazardous lacquer and rubber to insulate our wires. All the progress we’ve made in affordable electronics would never have happened. Replacing plastic in our electronics with a different substance is possible, but would be very difficult given the specifications required. Plastic is non conductive, which is very important for whatever the replacement substance would end up being ‘’

 In this article, ‘Goldie poll’ of INSH states explains that how plastic is deeply connected to this modern era of globalization. There is almost nothing nowadays that cannot but have plastic components in it. Our daily life is chained around plastic components even without realizing our morning seems to start with the plastic coffee mug of the Starbucks. Plastic is everywhere and its being used more than any other daily life components in this world. As a result; there is a large amount of investor and businesses centered solely around the production of plastic. Mobile phones, computer chips, electronics even the sunglasses, prosthetics, medical equipments, safety wears, shoes, fleece jackets – you cannot name almost anything in the world that does not contain plastic . So the manufacturer, not to mention even a part of me might disagree on the banning and boycotting of plastics as it has become inseparable. Not to mention U.S. has the largest plastic manufacturer ‘’ Exxonmobil ‘’ which alone produced $40.6 billion alone in the year 2009. Now here is a clear ideology – that we should ban plastic due to the landfill and the amount of destruction it is continuing on our oceans and marine lives, as it is the right thing to say. But is it really possible after such time? And even if we do how will be the substitute daily life commodities and are they any good? Even more on a humanitarian side- the people associated with these billion dollar giant organizations might feel a little bit push but the people who works tenaciously collecting , selling, profiting even more labors and workers associated with them shall be unemployed. So yes! That is a valid argument that just because we want to save animals should we sacrifice lives and livelihood of our human kind? Its not just moral but and ethical dilemma as well and thus there cannot be any way of saying that just boycotting or ban over plastic was a good idea to begin with . 

Vietnam Beach Plastic Waste

On the other hand as a naturalist and climate change enthusiastic there is no way of denying that plastic is killing our animals, sea mammals and filling our land with its in disposable waste which is helping creating ‘eutrophication’ on a rapid scale . An exclusive report from EcoWatch’s very own Olivia Rosanne giving us a prime example that even if there is such an uproar about saving the planet from plastic waste why there hasn’t been any strong reaction from the world leaders and famous organizations.

‘’The UN agreement to limit plastic pollution’’ agreement was reached Friday after a two-week meeting of the Conferences of Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in Geneva. It took the form of an amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal, which is backed by 187 countries excluding the U.S. More than 180 governments agreed to amend the convention to include plastic waste and improve the regulation of its trade.

In 2019 the united nations finally decided to pay attention to the fact that our natural habitants is dying and also to the fact that there was a great amount of discussion about the 17 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg that was highlighted ; they came to the historic ‘’ limit plastic pollution treaty ‘’.  Unlike most of the countries of the world United States decided not to sign the treaty because they did not seemed fit. Now there can be many reasons for it but we simply cannot ignore that there wasn’t any pressurizing from the multibillion dollar organizations. The nations may have signed the treaty but there is still the rising question of a country’s implementation of the treaty.  As every day passes the plastic waste web seems to be more and more constricting our planets natural habitants with its imperishable amount of wastage. The more we are ignoring and relying on these organizations to do something about it, we are clearly forgetting that it’s us who should be equally doing their parts in these as well. Ignorance may be bliss but in this case it’s the doom of your own mother nature by your own hands.  

 Erin McCormick from The Guardian explained in his 2020 February article headlining America’s ‘recycled’ plastic waste is clogging landfills’’- explains exactly why there is so much plastic around us that even it is recycled or so they say; isn’t adequate.

‘’One of the best things to do to save recycling is to stop claiming that everything is recyclable,” said John However, director of Greenpeace’s Oceans Campaign. “We have to talk to companies about not producing so much throw-away plastic that ends up in the ocean or in incinerators.”

McCormick states in his article; that even the renowned organizations of the world are failing to keep this pollution at bay as the companies are producing in such vast quantity. And there are so many recycle companies in this world yet the plastic pollution is increasing day by day . McCormick also introduced to the fact that, the researchers of Greenpeace found out  from 400 recycling recovery facilities that none of them could process coffee pods. And fewer than 15% accepted plastic clamshells which is used to package fruit, salad or baked goods .And even fewer than that and has the abilities to recycle plates, cups, bags and trays. As a result around more than 88% plastic stays non-recyclable. As a result no matter how much recycle we do it would never be enough because all plastics are not made to be recycled and its not possible. Unlike any other business the industries are just recycling for value so they only recycle the ones that can bring them their cost money and profit. And the others find their places straight into the pacific in the form of industrial wastage or garbage. And the result is showing everyday as our aquatic diversity and natural habitants are the being trodden and so can be said the reason for that is each and every one of us. 

 The above mentioned arguments explain the title of our essay and displays why there is such a difference in this topic of Plastic. As we venture further into the matter, we need to have a clear understanding that banning plastic or not boycotting plastic products; both is not quite happening. We have to understand that -Plastic is a component made solely for its durability and longevity. We are in the 21st century and there is no denying it that we have passed a great amount of time since the invention of plastic and much of our modern day necessities are the contribution of plastic materials and components.  But as human race advancing in absolute dominancy; we are neglecting our very own mother nature and the creatures that are indigenous to planet.As we have been introduced with both sides of the arguments it seems being in the middle ground is much more sensible approach to this delicate and significant issue. There are several manufacturers who produce bio-degradable plastic materials that decompose faster than synthetic plastic. Government of those companies should be concerned and careful enough to let these company run on its full course rather than get bought by other behemoth organizations. Thus companies like these can benefit and at the same time deliver us with an excellent solution to plastic waste problem that has been going for decades.  As a primary example- Skipping Rocks Lab Company which produced one of themost amazing solution to our drinking water bottle and recycle problem. In 2018, this company came up with”OOHO’’ – edible water bottles. As a result in Harrow half Marathon, for the first time ever, there were no plastic bottles or cups were on the street in marathon. OOHO or the edible water bottles was used instead and the provided the perfect amount of water for the racers while protecting the natural habitants from a huge amount of plastic waste. The winner of the Harrow Half marathon Lucy Ashe , said on an interview with BBC these water sachets provided perfect amount of water that one needs to take in a race. They are being used to replace plastic bottles at this year’s event in Harrow. Such initiatives are only appreciated financially if big companies help them to gain their cost money while helping them bringing about a change. Also not to mention our manufacturers and recycle companies should be aware of what they are doing to our environment while mass producing for profit. Manufacturers need to start producing environmental friendly plastic in order to prohibit more pollution. And if the manufacturers produce less of synthetic and non recyclable plastic ; more the recycle companies can produce optimum and healthy amount of recycled plastic which will not result in a ‘Terminator’ like situation for our natural environment.

Above all else; it is of great significance that the world organizations and WE as a human race should be one while tackling this plastic waste pandemic. There should be ‘absolute no tolerance‘policy for limiting plastic treaty’s. And the organizations should be strict and rigid enough to not be swayed by the ‘Land Whales’ and their pursuance. The companies need to provide us with eco friendly plastic which then and only then, will not be filling our lands and beaches; murdering our animals and destroying their ecosystem. And it is high time, we should be wary our version of plastic mass pollution. We should try to limit our plastic waste and inspire our kids to do the same .No matter how much small of an effort we are making , together it shall result in something genuinely result oriented, beautiful , just as Louis Armstrong presented us with his everlasting melody “What a wonderful world “. A socialist solution to this capitalist problem.

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