Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Mar 10, 2004
Living with plastics
This is with reference to "Let paper and plastics co-exist" (Business Line, February 10):We would like to clarify that plastic bags or other similar items do not release any toxic substance when they remain in the soil for a long time as plastics are generally inert materials.
Polyvinylchloride does not emit any toxic gas or substance during its manufacture and processing, beyond permissible limit. Its usage or disposal is completely safe. When exposed to fire, various plastics release different hazardous gases at different degrees, just as any cellulosic and natural materials such as wood, cotton clothes, etc.
As per the US EPA draft report of 2000, the dioxin level in the air in the late-1990s was one third that of the same in the early-1990s. Production and consumption of plastics have tripled during this period. This proves that dioxin and plastics are not correlated.
PET bottles are completely safe for packaging of potable water and are not linked with any carcinogenic substance.
Plastics are 100 per cent recyclable. There are different groups in the overall plastics family. For processing, a particular group of plastics it is required to be segregated and processed separately. This is a general procedure of plastics processing. All processors, recyclers and also the experienced rag pickers know about this. Attempts are on to even recycle plastics composite films into "board" to replace plywood application in some areas.
Any non-biodegradable waste, such as plastics, tin, metal, glass, many varieties of paper, etc., can create waste management problems, if an adequate arrangement for disposal is not available.
The Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment is working with NGOs and municipal authorities in several cities to create awareness among citizens about the importance of segregating non-biodegradable wastes at source, that is, in homes. We cannot imagine life without plastics but, we must use plastics wisely and dispose them responsibly.
T. K. Bandopadhyay,
Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment,
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