Clean Energy

Reasons why plastic is not villian to human civilization.

We have always considered plastic as a villain to the earth. Statistics say that over 1 trillion plastic bags are used a year and which is growing by 8 % every year. Since plastics are not biodegradable, it is a major element responsible to create pollution in the planet. Solid waste management has been a prior challenge to the planet, while thousands of hectors land are degrading and marine life is seriously alarmed.
BUT, has it been only destructor or does it also have contribution to the civilization? I’d like to think positive about plastic today. Like they say, everything has pros and cons; I would like to explore what plastic has given to the planet. And here are four reasons why plastic has also been boon to human civilization.

 Poor Man’s Luxury

On 2012, I had an opportunity to visit slum homes on the bank of Baghmati River, for a research purpose on energy need of slums. I visited door to door, interviewed and collected their opinion. I first time started to perceive plastic positively when a poor family, living in a hard ship offers me a chair made up plastic. At that point I knew, plastic has helped even poor get some kind of luxury. If that was wood or some steel, price would have been too high that they would not get privileged to a chair in their room.
Since then I started noticing these stuffs, Even in a remote village we find small furniture, mug, pots of plastic. Plastic made them affordable.

Made Medical easy

Which element would be used to make medical injection if plastic was not discovered yet? Would that be as good as plastic if they were made my some materials other than plastics?  Before 90’s medical saline bottles were made of glass, so saline was expensive but now they come far cheaper than they were and plastic alone contributes for this price reduction.
I think Medicine is the major sector that has developed more with the help of plastics.

 Insulation  made electricity delivery possible

Think, if there were no insulators, would it be possible to supply electricity to our power plugs.  Answer is a BIG No!!! Plastic has served being insulators, so that electricity do not get short circuit.

 Soul of Fashion

Consumer goods rapidly evolved after 80’s. Plastic played a greater role for change in design and looks in many consumer products. It also made things affordable. Automobile, electronics, cosmetic, home appliances industries experienced fashion due to plastic. Had you notice motorbikes in 90 have made all of metal? Now they come with different great design made of plastics.

Plastic may not remain villain in future.

Last month, one news on social media about innovation made me smile and showed a hope that plastic management might be easier in future. One team of young scientist has discovered plastic eating microbes. Only Issue with plastic is its “Not Decomposable”; that will be now solved by plastic eating microbes and turn them to “Decomposable”.
On the other hand, with present system, proper management of plastic material from the source can help solve the problem of environmental degradation due to plastic. Each citizen should take it seriously to send plastic to recycle straight to the manufacturer and not to the fields, landfill sites, rivers and oceans. Plastics shall not be horrible then!

Prakash Acharya is an entrepreneur from Nepal, passionately working to substitute fossil fuels with clean energy technologies. He co-founds Mukti Energy, a solar energy company providing a one-stop solution in the sector. He is also a big believer in change so he advocates and works for creating impact in society. His topics of interest spans from sustainability, zero energy, poverty reduction, sociology to smart city. He graduated from Institute of Engineering, Thapathali Campus on Industrial engineering. He is also a former assistant lecturer in IOE, Thapathali . Prakash is a fellow for Social Entrepreneurship Outreach Program 2014, Social Entrepreneurship Forum Sweden.

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