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Adverse Health Effects of Plastics Being Ignored Central Govt

Written By krishna on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | 11:31 PM

Note:Studies have found that some plastics have bad health effects. Research has found that phthalates, which are added to PVC to soften it for certain uses, leech out of PVC into the human body. PVC may cause side effects such as decreased lung function, increased weight, increased resistance to insulin, low sperm count, and DNA damage to sperm. It has also been found the exposure to phthalates in PVC may negatively effect the reproductive development of infant males, resulting in undescended testes, smaller scrota, and smaller penises. PVC is used in products such as children's toys, vinyl floors, wallpaper, shower curtains, vinyl bibs, and cosmetics, including lotions, shampoos, and nail polish. It is also used in many medical products including plastic bags for storing blood, plasma and intravenous fluids, feeding, breathing and dialysis tubes, catheters, respiratory masks, and exam gloves.

Another plastic, Polycarbonate contains a chemical called bisphenol A that leeches into the foods that it comes in contact with. This chemical is widely known to mimic the human hormone estrogen. It may increase the risk of miscarriages and polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that can cause infertility, ovarian cysts, and baldness in women. In animals, the chemical has been linked to obesity, prostate and mammary gland cancers, early onset of puberty, reproductive-organ defects, reduced sperm counts, altered mammary glands, and difficulty getting pregnant. Polycarbonates are used in products such as baby bottles, aluminum cans, pop cans, nalgene bottles, generic polycarbonate water bottles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, safety glasses, coffee makers, consumer electronics, laptop computers, CDs, DVDs, and dental sealants. It is also used for many other products including car parts, water filters, textiles, and paper, and is a widely used flame retardant.

Gopal Krishna

Centre, Delhi Govt lock horns over complete ban on plastic bags

The Delhi Government and Ministry of Chemical & Fertilizers are at loggerheads over the complete ban of plastic bags despite cabinet approval in the Capital. Earlier, the Union Environment Ministry was not happy with the Delhi Government’s decision to impose complete ban on manufacture, sale, storage and usage of plastic bags.

Due to objections raised by various ministries, the Delhi Government is unable to notify the plastic ban in the city despite cabinet approval in March this year. Under pressure from plastic carry bags suppliers and manufacturers, Neelkamal Darbari, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has shot a note to Chief Secretary PK Tripathi stating that plastics are recyclable and chemically inert substances and do not cause either environment or health hazards. “The presence of hydrogen and carbon in the polymer chains makes it a source for energy recovery. Although various technology options for recycling of plastic waste/scrap are in existence today, it is the indiscriminate littering of plastic material and the lack of organised segregation/collection of plastic waste in urban centres, along with operation of unscientific /unregistered recycling units which appear to be the core of the problem,” the note said. The Ministry has further suggested preparing a shelf of proposals for Plastic Waste Management Centre under of Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, stating that plastic occupies a unique place in modern society in view of its process ability in complicated shapes, tailor made properties, high strength to weight ratio, energy efficiency and performance convenience.

The Delhi Assembly had passed a Bill to complete ban on manufacture, sale, storage and usage of all kinds of plastic bags including non-woven plastic bags in the Capital and repealing of the existing Delhi Degradable Plastic Bag (manufacturing, sale and usage) and Garbage (control) Act 2000. There are 224 such units in the city.

Upset with the move, in a strongly worded letter to Darbari, Secretary (Environment) cum-Chairman Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) Keshav Chandra made it clear that Delhi Government is not against use of plastic products, but has a concern for Delhi’s environment in view of the nuisance created because of plastic carry bags.

“Plastic carry bags in municipal solid waste not only cause nuisance, but also a number of environmental hazards. The presence of plastic bags in municipal solid waste result in enhancing anaerobic conditions which inhibits the process of composting and natural decay and cause foul smell. Alongwith other solid waste they find their way to surface waters and cause choking of drains/sewerage system and water logging problems. Beside this, stray cattle consume plastic bags which may be fatal to them,” Chandra said in the letter.

Rajesh Kumar, 21 September. 2011

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