Detrimental Impact of Plastic Outcome on Agriculture: Biggest Threat to Environment

Detrimental Impact of Plastic Outcome on Agriculture: Biggest Threat to Environment

Shivom Singh (ITM University Gwalior, India), Prachi Dixit (ITM University Gwalior, India), Kajal S. Rathore (Government KRG Autonomous College, India) and Neha Sharma (Amity University Madhya Pradesh, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9452-9.ch007

Abstract

Generally, plastic is made up of non-biodegradable chemicals i.e. polyolefin, polyester, and polyurethanes. This is hardly surprising since the use of polythene bags has infiltrated all sectors of economy, agriculture, consumer goods, and especially in packaging, where polythene is increasingly replacing jute, paper, wood, and glass. Polythene bags can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding agricultural soil, which can then seep into ground water or other surrounding water sources. This can cause serious harm to the species that drink this water. Unlike natural organic material they do not disintegrate with time but keep accumulating in the environment. So it is very difficult to dispose of the polythene bags. If the polythene bags burned in agriculture land, they release harmful chemicals like Cd, Pb, CO, NOX and SO2, which causes many diseases in animals as well as in human beings. The accumulation of polythene bags also makes agricultural soil sterile/barren as it stops the gaseous exchange. In normal agricultural land, the concentration of oxygen is 3 ppm. Where polythene is present, the concentration of oxygen in soil decreases to 0.001 ppm. In addition, the polythene pollution can adversely affect agricultural lands, waterways, and oceans.
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Consumption Of Plastic In Different Areas

This is hardly surprising since the use of plastics has infiltrated all sectors of the economy. Infrastructure, agriculture building and construction, telecommunications, consumer’s goods and packing are all high growth areas which indicate a spiraling demand for plastics. For instance, in packaging plastics are increasingly replacing jute, paper, wood, glass and metal due to low cost and easy availability. Even traditional areas such as agriculture and marine are also using plastics as a part of modern scientific methods of packaging. Plastics are being used in all sectors of the economy. From 1.88 million tons (1995-96), the domestic demand for plastics is expected to cross 4 million tons by year 2001-2002 and is continuously increasing with time (figure1).

Figure1.

Figure showing the plastic consumption in India

978-1-5225-9452-9.ch007.f01
Source: Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Polythene Bag: A plastic bag, polybag, or pouch is a type of container made of thin, flexible, plastic film, nonwoven fabric, or plastic textile. Plastic bags are used for containing and transporting goods such as foods, produce, powders, ice, magazines, chemicals, and waste. It is a common form of packaging. Polythene pollution is mostly created by polythene bags, plastic syringe, pesticide containers, and medicinal bottles.

Plastic Factories: The plastics industry manufactures polymer materials commonly called plasticsand offers services in plastics important to a range of industries, including packaging, building and construction, electronics, aerospace, and transportation. It is part of the chemical industry.

Non-Biodegradable: Those materials which cannot be broken down or decomposed into the soil by natural agents are labeled as non-biodegradable. These substances consist of plastic materials, metal scraps, aluminum cans and bottles, hazardous chemicals etc.

Agricultural Countries: Of the major cereal and vegetable crops, the United States, China, India, and Russia frequently appear as top producers. It probably won't surprise readers that China is the leading worldwide producer of rice, but it's also the leading producer of wheat and the number two producer of corn, as well as the largest producer of many vegetables including onions and cabbage. In terms of total production, the United States is third in wheat and first in corn and soybeans.

Polythene Pollution: Polythene pollution is an example of non-biodegradable pollution and they persist on our earth years after years affecting even future generation.

Plastic Pollution: Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects (e.g.: plastic bottles and much more) in the Earth's environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, and humans. Plastics that act as pollutants are categorized into micro, meso, or macro debris, based on size. Plastics are inexpensive and durable, and as a result levels of plastic production by humans are high. However, the chemical structure of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation and as a result they are slow to degrade. Together, these two factors have led to a high prominence of plastic pollution in the environment.

Agricultural Land: Agricultural land is typically land devoted to agriculture, the systematic and controlled use of other forms of life particularly the rearing of livestock and production of crops to produce food for humans. It is thus generally synonymous with farmland or cropland, as well as pasture or rangeland.

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