Essay Example on 280 million tonnes of plastic was manufactured Worldwide









In the year 2012 an estimated 280 million tonnes of plastic was manufactured worldwide Almost half of it was transmitted to landfill or were reused Nonbiodegradable plastic waste can physically harm the ecosystem Additionally many plastics can be chemically harmful in some situations because they are themselves toxic or because they absorb other waste products Rochman 2013 Plastic waste has caused increasing environmental concerns which resulted in strengthening of regulations in order to minimize loads of packaging waste Among many other materials a large range of oil based polymers is currently utilized in packaging applications They are mainly non biodegradable and for the most part hard to recycle or reuse because of mixed levels of contamination and complex mixtures In recent years the improvement of biodegradable packaging instruments from renewable natural resources has gained increasing attention worldwide Davis 2006 The water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes is a tropical species belonging to the pickerelweed family Pontederiaceae It is a free floating aquatic plant well known for its production abilities and removal of toxins from water It can rapidly grow to very high densities thereby completely clogging water bodies which in turn may have negative effects on the environment human health and economic development Malik 2007 

Water hyacinth is recorded as one of the most productive plants on earth and is perceived as one of the world's most terrible aquatic plants It doubles its size in a span of 5 days and a mat of medium sized plants may be composed of 2 million plants each hectare that measures 270 to 400T in weight Jafari 2010 Water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes weed forms thick impenetrable mats across the water surface limiting access by man animals and machinery Yirefu et al 2007 In addition routes and fishing are deterred and irrigation as well as drainage systems become blocked As specified by Shayuti 2010 the blockage of canals and rivers can even cause unsafe flooding Water hyacinth can pose many problems for the fisherman such as diminishing fish population difficult access to the fishing sites and loss of fishing gears bringing about the reduction of catch and subsequent loss of livelihood Water hyacinth is considered waste for the reduction of biodiversity as well Aloo 2003 These mats intensively prohibit natively submerged and floating leaved plants and its associated fauna thereby causing an imbalance in the aquatic micro ecosystem The diversity of fish stocks is also affected Villamagna 2010 Low oxygen conditions underneath the mats create great rearing conditions for mosquito vectors of malaria encephalitis dengue and filariasis Walton 2012 According to Rezania 2015 water hyacinth can withstand a wide range of environmental conditions such as wind salinity pH temperature dry season and current 

As stated by Okoye 2002 water hyacinth plant form and structural feature is very plastic with a fast method of vegetative propagation which makes it well adapted to long distance dispersal and successful colonization of diverse ecological specialties In spite of its environmental deteriorating impacts water hyacinth still offers potential to be utilized as a substrate for production of economically vital products because of its promising sugar content Preethi et al 2015 According to Nigam 2002 water hyacinth is thought to be a potential biomass source of cellulose and hemicellulose for transformation to valuable items Eco friendly bio composites from plant derived fiber and crop derived plastics are novel materials of the twenty first century Biodegradable plastics and bio based polymer products based on annually renewable agricultural and biomass feedstock can form the basis for a portfolio of practical eco efficient products that can compete and capture markets currently dominated by products based exclusively on petroleum feedstock Singh Mohanty 2007 Remarkable progress has been made in the development of practical processes and products from polymers such as starch cellulose and lactic acid The need to create alternative biodegradable water soluble polymers for down the drain products such as detergents and cosmetics has taken on increasing importance The worldwide utilization of biodegradable polymers has expanded from 14 million kg to an estimated 68 million kg in just five years Target markets for biodegradable plastics cover packaging instruments consumer goods and agricultural Biodegradable plastic commercialization is however hampered by competition with commodity plastics that are inexpensive and familiar to the customer Also an infrastructure for the disposal of BPs in bioactive environments must be developed and will require capital investments Without an extensive network of efficient composting and other bioconversion facilities that in addition to compost yield other valuable chemical intermediates BPs and other bio disposables are destined to be entombed in dry landfill environments designed to retard biodegradation Gross 2002 Plastics that can be broken down by bacteria or fungi into water carbon dioxide and some simpler bio material are called biodegradable 

Plastics are valued for their capacity to make durable merchandises such as in food packaging Biodegradability should therefore be considered as an important attribute when the application demands an easier way to eliminate of the item after it has accomplished its duty Biodegradability is a material property that relies on the circumstances of the biological environment Given that this is the situation it could be inferred that creating an item such as a plastic bag compostable does not make so much sense because this biodegradability attribute will not resolve the waste issue Leja 2010 According to McDonough and Braungart 2010 it is a huge mistake to focus the attention only on discovering ways to make products easier to eliminate in the sense of helping the environment Biodegradable plastics are useful materials but they should only be utilized when they have a solid value for a specific produce The best way to help save the planet is to save energy and improve ways of recycling and recovering all plastics

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