Human Heart – Definition, Diagram, Anatomy and FunctionApril 17, 2023
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Plastics – Boon or Curse: Plastics: a boon or bane? If we were to label the current epoch, we could call it the Plastic Age. Because plastic is light and simple to shape, it quickly replaced metals in everyday goods such as buckets, mugs, pipes, ropes, certain furniture, and a variety of other products like pencils, bottles, our spectacle frames, and even clothing materials.
People began to view plastic as a disposable commodity as it grew cheaper, and the new slogan ‘use and toss’ became a way of life. Plastic bags and bottles have become quite widespread in everyday life. The development of plastic was hailed as a triumph of human ingenuity – a blessing that, sadly, turned out to be a scourge. Plastic does not decompose since it is non-biodegradable; therefore, it becomes trash that harms the environment. Read on to know more about plastics – boon or curse.
Plastic is a synthetic polymer consisting of monomers that are arranged linearly or may be cross-linked. These can be moulded and set into the desired shape when soft and then hardened to produce a durable product. Plastics are manufactured from the chemicals found in crude oil. Plastics can have bright, attractive colours. The term ‘Plastic’ was derived from the Greek word ‘Plastikos’, which means ‘to mould’.
Plastics are mainly of two types:
Fig: Classification of Plastics
1. Thermoplastics: These plastics can be bent easily and get deformed on heating. These can be softened on heating and moulded repeatedly to get the desired shape. These are polythene, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), polypropylene, polyester, Teflon, polystyrene, perspex, etc. These are mainly used for making toys, combs, carry bags, bottles, and various types of containers.
2. Thermosetting plastics: These plastics can be heated and moulded once into shape and cannot be softened and moulded again on reheating. The chains of these plastics get highly cross-linked due to heating. Examples of these plastics are bakelite, melamine, etc. Bakelite is used for making electrical switches, handles of various utensils, etc., as it is a poor conductor of heat and electricity. Melamine can be used to make floor tiles, kitchenware, fabrics, etc., as it can resist fire and tolerate heat.
Fig: Thermosetting Plastics
Plastic is very important in our life. We can’t even imagine our life without plastic. So many products that we use in our daily life are made of plastic only. So, it can be said to be a boon to human life, but there is another aspect of plastic that is a curse to humans. Excessive use of plastic can create many problems for humans as well as the environment.
Plastic as Boon and Plastic as Curse are mentioned below:
We can minimise or reduce the overuse of plastics by following ways:
To save the environment from harmful uses of plastic, we have to follow 3Rs- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce the use of plastic and reuse harmless plastic to help reduce its overproduction. Recycling and reusing plastic materials are the most effective perspective to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning that are often practised to manage domestic waste.
Many recycling bins can be placed in cities and on beaches in coastal areas to accelerate the prevention and reduction of plastic pollution. The plastic recycling methods involve collecting, sorting, shredding, washing, melting, and reorganisation and formation of new products.
Fig: The Process of Recycling of Plastic
Even while plastic appears to be a highly helpful material, it may be quite dangerous when burned since it emits poisonous fumes. Microbes cannot degrade plastics since they are non-biodegradable. They’re bad for the environment and take hundreds of years to degrade. Plastic bags discarded carelessly on roadways and elsewhere end up in drains and sewage pipelines.
Drains and sewage systems become clogged as a result, and water pours onto the roadways. Animals have been known to eat plastic bags and die in agony. Bags gathered by rag pickers are occasionally reused after being washed. The use of recycled plastic bags to store food might be hazardous to human health.
Plastic is a polymer in which the monomers are arranged linearly, or they may be cross-linked. The main two types of plastic are thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic. Plastic is a boon to humankind. They are used to make many daily usable products like buckets, bottles, pencil boxes, pipes, etc. They are used as carrying bags to carry many things. They are cheap and easily available. Plastic is also a curse to humankind as plastic is non-biodegradable, can’t be recycled, and is a waste that causes many health problems.
Q.1. What is plastic?
Ans: Plastic is a polymer in which the monomers are arranged linearly or cross-linked.
Q.2. Why is plastic a boon?
Ans: Plastic is a boon to humankind. They are used to make many daily usable products like buckets, bottles, pencil boxes, pipes, etc. They are used as carrying bags to carry many things. They are cheap and easily available.
Q.3. What are the harmful effects of plastic?
Ans: The harmful effects of plastics are:
1. Plastic ends up in harmful wastage and harmful to our health and can cause cancer also.
2. They are toxic and produce toxic fumes when burnt and cause pollution to the environment.
Q.4. Write two ways how we can reduce the use of plastics?
Ans: 1. We should reuse plastic bags while going shopping, thus reducing the number of bags used.
2. We should never dispose of or throw plastic bags or plastic articles into water bodies, sewage systems, roads, streets, or barren lands.
Q.5. Which type of plastic is banned in India?
Ans: Polythene bags of less than 50 microns are banned in India.
Study the Characteristics of Plastics
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