Plastics at a local damp site

Walking in the hoods, a sight of flying polythene bags and plastics is common. This is a serious problem with dire environmental and health consequences. First, I remember buying bread and sugar wrapped in khaki papers and packets respectively. Milk was also packed in equally degradable material as well as meat in the butchery which was wrapped in newspapers. But in the 90s things started to change; the magic plastic bags arrived and now basically everything is packaged in plastic or nylon. Plastic packages have become very important and part of all sectors where packaging is necessary.


As a result, effects of this extensive use of plastics are now visible. Plastics have become an eye sore to behold in most of our towns. Littering of plastic bags is associated with numerous environmental problems. First, it causes visual pollution. Secondly, plastic wastes have serious effects on the drainage system – they block gutters and drains, creating serious storm water problems. Thirdly, plastic wastes that find themselves into the sea and other water bodies kill aquatic wildlife when the animals ingest them, mistaking them for food and finally the fact that plastics take long to decompose, their impacts in the environment takes long.

How can this be solved? Save and recycle any plastic you use; when plastics accumulates in volumes large enough to make the trip worthwhile, take it for recycling or re-use. There are people making a kill from used plastics out there. Or you can donate clean plastic bags to your local kiosk, to be reused for other customer purchases. Also, the waste plastics can be used as raw materials to make beautiful and useful household items and crafts: shower curtains, bathmats, hats, bags and baskets. Putting these into action, then there would be less pollution and thus reduced climate change.

Refuse plastic bags at source: The Nobel peace prize Winner, Wangari Maathai declared war on plastic bags by saying, “If they wrap your fish and chips in plastic bags, please refuse the food” If we can get the alternative food and refuse the food as advised, this can go a long way in eliminating the plastics menace. The most practical solution is reusable bags. But again, while these bags can be good for the environment, they could be harmful to you. If you don’t wash them after each use, they could turn into a breeding zone for harmful bacteria. People should therefore learn to carry “Kikapu”, their own bag when going shopping. Even as an individual consumer, your impact on the wider plastics problem can be lot stronger than you might think.