Threat Of The Plastic

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The country is marking the World Environment Day today (Monday) amidst the soaring temperatures. Scorching heat has hit the people living in the Terai region as well as the Kathmandu Valley. Temperature in Terai districts has risen to 40 degrees Celsius while it has exceeded 32 degrees Celsius in the last few days in the Kathmandu Valley known for its mild temperature. Meteorologists have forecasted that the nation is unlikely to see the rainfall soon. There have been no rains in the country for the last five days. And upcoming days are expected to be hotter. Based on the study of weather conditions for four months (June 1 to September 30), they have predicted that the country is set to experience an above-average maximum temperature due to the El Nino that is responsible for triggering dry spells. The rising temperature bodes ill for the country, given its climatic vulnerability. It has seen the increase in average annual temperature by 0.056 degrees Celsius. It has faced adverse consequences of extreme weather events time and again. The unusual rise in the temperatures has been attributed to the global warming which is responsible for climate change. 


The excessive use of fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, has been blamed for the global warming that has threatened healthy life on the planet. Plastic is a by-product of fossil fuel processing. So it is imperative to reduce the use of plastics and go for their alternatives to check the environmental degradation. The use of plastic-made products is increasing because they come in handy in daily life. But there has been a tendency of not thinking seriously about the pollution caused by them. It generally takes more than 400 years for plastics to decompose. Therefore, they pollute soil, water and air for a long time. Water pollution is harming not only the aqua life but also humans and other animals living on land. Likewise, degradation of soil leads to the decline in the production of nutritious foods. Air pollution has caused serious public health problems as it directly hits the respiratory system. Elderly, children and those living with illnesses are especially vulnerable to polluted air. 


When natural resources are exploited excessively, the ecosystem is disrupted, thanks to the reckless acts and behaviours of humans, who have been accustomed to violating the law of nature to fulfill their insatiable desires.  Scientific studies have shown that human beings are responsible for the global warming. Experts mention two types of environmental problems triggered by human-caused and human-induced factors. The human-caused problems include unmanaged solid waste, river water pollution, use of toxic materials and air pollution, which mainly take place in urban places. On the other hand, under the human-induced problems come land degradation caused by floods, landslides and erosion having negative impact on the livelihoods of local people and the nation's economy.


This year the World Environment Day is being observed with the slogan of ‘Beat Plastic Pollution.’ This is indeed a fitting theme as the use and burning of plastics has caused water, air and soil pollution, risking public health and increasing global warming. The occasion should inspire the concerned stakeholders to reflect on taking appropriate measures to mitigate the environmental pollution. It is necessary to adopt correct policy to protect natural resource base, and check soil degradation and deterioration of land resources. People in general also need to change their behaviour such as reducing the plastic use, improving waste management, and adopting the clean energy, thereby combating the plastic pollution and climate change as a whole.

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