Plastic a significant environment risk, replacement pose other environmental risks

By: |
June 18, 2019 2:38 AM

The ministry estimates that a cotton tote would have to be reused 7,001 times more than a LDPE bag to prove an effective substitue, thanks to the environmental footprint of cotton cultivation and the manufacturing for the bag.

Plastic, significant environment risk, environment risk, Plastic pollution, environmental pollution, environmental studiesPlastic a significant environment risk, replacement pose other environmental risks (AP Photo)

A report by Denmark’s ministry of environment and food highlights the environmental impact of cotton totes have vis-à-vis low-density polyethylene bags (LDPE). It says, considering all factors besides marine litter—plastic is nearly the sole contributor to this—cotton totes are worse for the environment. The ministry estimates that a cotton tote would have to be reused 7,001 times more than a LDPE bag to prove an effective substitue, thanks to the environmental footprint of cotton cultivation and the manufacturing for the bag. The report also says that transitioning to cotton or paper bags will also affect the environment adversely—because this involves deforestation, ozone depletion, unsustainable usage of water, and toxicity.  Read Also| West Bengal medical crisis a symptom of underfunded public health

The report says organic cotton is even worse—bags from organic cotton must be reused 20,000 times to prove effective as a substitute for LDPE. Cotton is a very water-intensive crop and cultivation could draw a lot of fossil-fuel based power. Similar issues also arise in case of paper, wherein large scale deforestation must occur to cater for that need. For instance, the need to make toilet papers soft has taken a toll on Canada’s boreal forests. As of now, 127 countries favour a ban on single-use plastics. The world has to come to terms with the idea that anything ‘single-use’ will affect the environment drastically; but a ban plastics will not deliver the environmental boon we seek.

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