Many may not know how dangerous plastics are until the dangers are unleashed. When large combustion of plastic takes place, the gas released is harmful to humans and even the ozone layer.
Dioxin and Furan are the gasses released when plastics are burnt. These gasses are not friendly to man and his environment as they pollute the environment. Ultimately this activity is one of such that damages the ozone layer.
However, lack of adequate education about plastics and their handling is as dangerous as the negative effects of large combustion.
In third world countries where waste disposal is an issue to the public, the temptation to set wastes ablaze indiscriminately is high. To some, it is a quick way to control refuse which is equally a danger to public health.
Most times plastics constitute a good percentage of waste generated daily and communities in the habit of burning waste largely do out of ignorance which is no excuse when the resultant effect is unleashed.
Due to ignorance, many are fond of burning their refuse in order to reduce or control such garbage but on the other hand, in the attempt of reducing garbage and preventing possible epidemic, more damage is done to humans and the environment is also endangered as plastics are consumed along other garbage during combustion.
Emil Budianto, a Director of Environmental Science at the University of Indonesia, according to Jarkatapost.com, once said plastic waste contains carbon and hydrogen. These compounds mix with chloride sometimes found in food waste and when combustion takes place, releases harmful gas.
Some of these gasses if inhaled may cause coughing and long term exposure to these gasses known as dioxin can expose the inhaler to cancer.
Safer way to dispose plastic wastes
However, there is a more environmentally friendly way of disposing plastic waste without necessarily endangering the environment. One method is by burning at about 1,000 degrees Celsius. This is friendlier to the environment.
A way to achieve burning at 1,000 degrees Celsius is with the aim of an incinerator; a kind of controllable fire box.
It is necessary for households to know the danger in burning plastics in the popular but unfriendly way to the environment. The immediate effect of burning plastics beyond 1,000 degree Celsius in an uncontrolled environment goes beyond endangering individuals who may inhale the toxic it would emit. The more general implication is the danger it poses to the ozone layer which effect is more grievous.
However, policy makers should as a matter of urgency engage in mass education to dissuade people from burning plastics indiscriminately.
Lasting solution however is to popularise the culture of recycling plastics for other uses. Of course this is best achieved by way of legislation once adequate infrastructure to achieve recycling are put in place.
Governments should however endeavour to support recycling of plastics if possible by introducing incentives or financial rewards in order to encourage such.
This is important because what the society stands to lose to the effect of burning plastics must be more than whatever infrastructure and incentives needed to encourage recycling.