'Face masks used during pandemic will take almost 450 years to disintegrate'
On World Plastic Bags Free Day observation held in Kakching district, RFO Kakching, Naorem Munal Meitei called upon all to make Manipur plastic free.
It is high time that every single citizen takes up the responsibility to make Manipur plastic free, RFO, Kakching, Naorem Munal Meitei said on Saturday.
“So it is high time now that every single citizen takes up responsibility to make our homes, localities, and towns plastic-free and eventually make Manipur Plastic Free,” Munal told mediapersons at the World Plastic Bags Free Day event in Kakching district.
Staff of Kakching Forest department in association with Pallel, Waikhong, and Wangoo Lamkhai beat offices observed World Plastic Bags Free Day by clearing up discarded plastic wastes in Kakching Lamkhai, Pallel Bazaar Thongkhong, Kakching Bazaar and Waikhong Bazaar along with a public awareness drive on Saturday.
Pointing out that plastics have now become a scourge for the environment as it takes more than 500 to 3,000 years for plastics to disintegrate totally, the RFO said that even face masks used during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will take almost 450 years to disintegrate.
"This means that right from their initial production in 1907, all the plastics that have been produced till now are still present in one form or another on the surface of the planet," Munal said.
He also mentioned that the number of plastics used every second worldwide is 1,60,000 bags. “This implies that if all the plastic bags used every 10 minutes are tied up in the form of a rope, it can encircle the entire planet and the size can cover half the surface of the country,” he said.
Besides being a major source of pollution, plastics have become such a menace that they have also been responsible for clogging up drains and even rivers thereby causing floods, the RFO further stated, adding that plastics have severely affected marine life too with the number of marine plastic wastes exceeding the number of visible aquatic organisms.
Incinerating plastics releases toxic gases like dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls into the atmosphere, and poses a threat to vegetation, and human and animal health, he said. Dioxins settle on crops and in our waterways where they eventually enter our food and hence our bodies.