If people knew how harmful burning plastic was, they would think twice before burning their household garbage. For whatever reason people feel the need to burn trash, it is a practice that must absolutely be stopped. The effects of burning plastic on the environment are serious health consequences for everyone.
You might be wondering why India is not clean. Because everybody is using plastic. This article could help the change.
Reasons People Burn Plastic
For many people, burning household garbage is a way of life. It is the most convenient way to get rid of accumulating trash. During cold weather people may even burn garbage indoors to heat their living space.
Burning plastic generates more heat than burning other waste materials. In areas that have no public waste removal services, burning garbage seems like the best solution. If only they were aware of the dangers of burning trash.
Dangerous Health Effects of Burning Plastic
Burning plastic causes numerous health dangers:
- increases risk of heart disease
- aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema
- causes skin rashes, nausea, or headaches
- damages the nervous system
- damages the kidneys and liver
- disrupts the reproductive, endocrinal and development systems
In particular, burning polystyrene such as styrofoam cups, plates and food trays releases styrene gas.
This dangerous gas can be easily absorbed through the lungs and even the skin. Overexposure to styrene gas disrupts the central nervous system causing headaches, fatigue, weakness and depression.
The most dangerous health effect of burning plastic is the release of dioxin into the atmosphere. Dioxins are extremely toxic to humans and animals.
They cause cancer and hormonal birth defects that are passed from generation to generation. The dioxin also ends up in the soil poisoning food for humans and animals.
Environmental Effects of Burning Plastic
Toxins are sent up into the air from burning plastic waste in a barrel. Eventually what goes up must come down over short or long distances.
Dangerous pollutants like mercury, PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and furans enter the soil or water where they can remain for years.
Over time, the toxins accumulate in food crops, animals and fish that people eat. Wildlife is also endangered by these toxins resulting from buring plastic.
Stop Burning Plastic Bottles and Bags
By far the most commonly burned plastic is in the form of bags and bottles. Every time people go shopping they bring home bags and bottles which accumulate in their home.
Rather than burn them, people need to make the habit of separating them and arranging to have them recycled properly.
Another solution is to avoid using plastic bags. People should carry their own reusable shopping bags.Whenever possible we should avoid buying things packaged in plastic.
Becoming Conscious About Burning Plastic
Since most of the plastic being burned is done by individuals, we all have a responsibility to help stop this dangerous practice. There are laws against burning plastic throughout India, but they are rarely if ever enforced against individuals.
As concerned citizens, we must become agents for change.
If you see someone burning plastic, kindly inform them about the dangerous health effects. Offer to help others recycle their plastic waste.
Finally feel empowered as a consumer to encourage companies and businesses to reduce the use of plastic packaging.
Conclusion About Burning Plastic
Burning plastic is one of the most serious environmental disasters affecting our health. Fortunately it is a problem that has simple solutions. If we really care about our health and the well being of our environment, we will help stop the burning of plastic.
After all, the only way to avoid being part of the problem, is to be part of the solution. Joining together in our efforts, we can make a difference.