President Message

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

Most advances of human society over the past century have been facilitated by the use of plastics. Plastics are composed of a network of molecular monomers bound together to form macromolecules of infinite use in human society. Plastics continue to benefit society in innumerable ways, even though recent public focus on plastics has centered mostly on human health and environmental concerns. The benefits of plastics are particularly apparent in medicine and public health. Plastics are versatile, cost-effective, require less energy to produce than alternative materials – such as metal or glass – and can be manufactured to have many different properties.

Due to these characteristics, polymers are used in diverse health applications, such as disposable syringes and intravenous bags, sterile packaging for medical instruments as well as in joint replacements, tissue engineering, etc. However, not all current uses of plastics are prudent and hence has been at the receiving end of environmentalists and many NGOs. The problems have arisen from the irresponsible use of plastics and littering by the common mango people like us“.

Different methods have been developed for disposal of plastics but each has its own limitations e.g. All plastics can be disposed of in landfills. But, landfills require space and the chemical constituents and energy contained in plastic articles typically is lost in this disposal route. It also diminishes land resources fit for other uses of higher societal value. The next method is incineration which returns some of the energy from plastic production but is known to produce negative environmental and health effects. Incineration results in the release of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and of other air pollutants. The next method is recycling and reuse. However, numerous practical challenges of plastics recycling exist including: the technical challenge of accurately sorting plastics; the current price of oil and the quality of recycled plastic that results; as well as the knowledge that a significant fraction of one-way articles will bypass programmed disposal and enter the environment, thereby resulting in widespread, long-term pollution. The fourth method is use of biodegradable plastics. However, many biodegradable plastics may not biodegrade rapidly enough under ambient environmental conditions to avoid accumulation from continuous inputs; however, it can do so only if these alternatives are made from non-fossil resources using renewable energy. Biodegradable plastics also can contaminate and disrupt the current recycling stream, due to their similar appearance, yet distinct makeup.

Most of the problems on the use of plastics has been caused by the extensive manufacture and use of single usage application or “use and throw plastics”. Incentives must be provided by the government to manufacturers of “use and throw plastics” to shift to multiple use plastics that will reduce the quantum of plastic waste. Waste plastic can be used in road construction as technology has been developed many years ago but the same is underutilized. Roads made out of waste plastics mixed with bitumen increases the life span of the roads. Pilot projects in this regard have been successfully carried out by the Federation in many parts of West Bengal. Waste plastics are also used in manufacture of fuel and in cement kilns. Because of the many advantages in the use of plastics, banning of plastics is likely to end in failure. We are left with an only option “USE PLASTICS RESPONSIBLY”.

Wishing all members a very happy and prosperous SHUBO NABOBARSHO.



Alok Tibrewala