While steps must be taken to ban use of plastic bags, ToxicsWatch Alliance holds that the mechanism developed by Bhruhat Bangalore Municipal Palike whereby it is using plastic waste to lay roads is anti-environment because in effect, it is an act of landfilling plastic wastes.
The toxic contaminants from thes wastes can leech and contaminate the underground water and degrade the soil health.
On May 7, the Supreme Court said it would consider whether to completely ban the use of plastic in the interests of animals and the environment.
An apex court bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi said this during the hearing of a PIL (public interest litigation), drawing attention of the court to the plight of animals, which were allegedly swallowing plastic with their food. The court suggested that either the use of plastic be banned or the manufacturers should pick up the used plastic and re-cycle it.
After use plastic bags pollution load increases. It is dumped in everwhere. Sometims it gets sent to dumpsites. It litters the environment, reaches waterways, drains, forests, mountains, hill stations, parks, beaches, streets and in teh stomach of animals. If plastic bags are burnt it causes emissions of toxic gases.
Animals ingest plastic bags, in search of food. They die very painful death. Even after the death of these animals the ingested plastic bag remains intact despite the decomposition of the animal. It makes the lanscape ugly. It is non-biodegradable. The decomposition may take some 400 years.
The plea sought directions to all the state governments to ensure that wastes in plastic bags were segregated after collecting from door-to-door basis, thereby putting a check on animals swallowing such materials.
All the drains in the country are getting choked due to plastic wastes. Supreme Court supported the demand for a mechanism to put a ban on the use of plastics else the next generation will face its consequences which be greater than the atomic bomb.
The health of human beings is directly impacted by animal products such as milk and meat which are contaminated by plastic residues.
The court has issued notices to the central and state governments and the plastic manufacturers in view of the prayer for complete ban on the use of plastic bags in the country due to the deleterious effects of such polluting materials on humans, animals and environment.
Some plastic products contain a variety of additives, some of which can be toxic. For example, plasticizers like adipates and phthalates are often added to brittle plastics like polyvinyl chloride to make them pliable enough for use in food packaging, toys, and many other items. Traces of these compounds can leach out of the product. Owing to concerns over the effects of such leachates, the European Union has restricted the use of DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate)and other phthalates in some applications. Some compounds leaching from polystyrene food containers have been proposed to interfere with hormone functions and are suspected human carcinogens.
The monomers used in the manufacture of the parent polymers may be toxic. In some cases, small amounts of those chemicals can remain trapped in the product unless suitable processing is employed. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recognized that vinyl chloride, the precursor to PVC, as a human carcinogen.]
Some polymers may also decompose into the monomers or other toxic substances when heated. In 2011, it was reported that "almost all plastic products" sampled released chemicals with estrogenic activity, although the researchers identified plastics which did not leach chemicals with estrogenic activity.
The primary building block of polycarbonates, bisphenol A (BPA), is an estrogen-like endocrine disruptor that may leach into food. Research in Environmental Health Perspectives finds that BPA leached from the lining of tin cans, dental sealants and polycarbonate bottles can increase body weight of lab animals' offspring. A more recent animal study suggests that even low-level exposure to BPA results in insulin resistance, which can lead to inflammation and heart disease.
As of January 2010, the LA Times newspaper reports that the United States FDA is spending $30 million to investigate indications of BPA being linked to cancer.
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) adipate, present in plastic wrap based on PVC, is also of concern, as are the volatile organic compounds present in new car smell.
The European Union has a permanent ban on the use of phthalates in toys. In 2009, the United States government banned certain types of phthalates commonly used in plastic.
Plastics are durable and degrade very slowly; the chemical bonds that make plastic so durable make it equally resistant to natural processes of degradation. Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.Perhaps the biggest environmental threat from plastic comes from nurdles, which are the raw material from which all plastics are made. They are tiny pre-plastic pellets that kill large numbers of fish and birds that mistake them for food.
Prior to the ban on the use of CFCs in extrusion of polystyrene (and general use, except in life-critical fire suppression systems; see Montreal Protocol), the production of polystyrene contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer; however, non-CFCs are currently used in the extrusion process.
Plastic can be converted as a fuel since they are usually hydrocarbon-based and can be broken down into liquid hydrocarbon. One kilogram of waste plastic produces a liter of hydrocarbon. But burning plastic releases toxic fumes. Burning the plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) may create dioxin.