• AMPlus Issue7

Plastic rains – The new Acid Rain

Niharika V Murthy

19th October 2020

I was taking a stroll on a lonely road, under the dim lights all by myself. A plastic bag carried by the wind clenched my leg, clearly wanting to accompany my lonesomeness for the rest of my walk. Am I the only one who has been a partner of this plastic bag? Not to forget that plastics have tagged along with the human race for generations together till now and will continue to follow us even in the future.

Looking back in time, plastic bags were fascinating due to their capabilities of carrying multiple items in one go. Its affordability was like an add-on to the convenience provided. Considering the ill effects of plastics, one usually forgot how much of a negative impact could these substances have on our earth.

Plastic bags that rained through western parts of the U.S (Source: National Geographic)

Plastics, which are derived from natural and organic materials like coal, natural gas, salt, etc., on the contrary, become non-biodegradable after they undergo processing. It’s amusing how their life span is much greater when compared to us humans. Plastic pollution has evolved as one of the most prominent environmental issues over the decades due to the massive production of plastic bags, bottles, boxes, etc. The world would have been a little more refined if every plastic producing company switched to manufacture bio-degradable alternatives. At this point, we can not only wish for it to happen but act upon it.

Conversing with one of my friends’, Tejaswini S, founder of ‘Hasti,’ an NGO whose objective is to ensure less usage of plastic bags by providing market areas with a cloth or paper bags, it came into light as to how educating school children about the detriment of plastic, at a very young age could be a significant kick-start to protecting our environment. “Coming from a pro-environmental family, I was taught to use cloth bags from home than plastic bags,” she said. “Learning about the effects of plastics on our environment in school made me think of taking up an initiative,” she added.

So is this plastic bag, my friend or my enemy?

Keeping in mind that we have already damaged the environment in all ways possible, one of the worst expected outcomes could be plastic rains that hit the western part of the USA annually. 365 micro-plastic particles per square meter were recorded by the scientists in the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France that poured directly from the sky, as mentioned by National Geographic. It is safe to assume that most of the plastic particles were synthetic microfibers used to produce clothes. Small chunks of shattered plastic bottles and microfibers worn out from clothes were also few additional pollutants apart from micro-plastics that fluttered through the air and accumulated in these regions. According to Wired, the plastic that is caught up in the atmospheric process and pouring down has now marked that plastic rain in the new acid rain. Terrifying, isn’t it?

I continue to walk on this lonely road, under the pale light, this time alone.

(Sources: Wired, National Geographic, Science Magazine, Ecowatch, NY Times)

Edited by: Ritish

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