“Hey, kid! you see this water here? It might be here like this for many years! That’s exactly what we were saying to you earlier when we told you that it takes 10-10,000 years for plastic wastes to decompose.” These were the words of one of the volunteers to a young boy in the local community while Optigreen and other organizations visited Bàrígà for cleaning sensitization on the world clean-up day 2019.
What you need to know about plastics and nylons
Ever wondered why pure water sachet is always a part of the soil?
As a kid, I often wondered why pure water sachet and other nylons were found in the soil especially when a portion of land is been dug for agricultural or construction purposes. Though, I never gave much thought to it then nor asked questions; I later got to know that as harmless as a pure water sachet looks in the soil or in our environment, it has the potential of causing great harm to nature more than we can imagine. You are surprised, aren’t you?
Okay…. Let’s do some little research. Pure water sachet is made from nylon, right?
Nylon is a layman language. Pure water sachet is made from the same raw material as plastics. In developed countries, ‘nylons’ are referred to as plastic bags. Plastic bags are made from a hydrocarbon known as polyethylene. Polyethylene is a pure chemical structure derived from petroleum; therefore, it is very difficult for it to be broken down or decomposed by microorganisms. Hence, it remains for a very long time where it is been disposed of. Although, research has it that plastics bags, when exposed to sun, gets broken down ‘faster’ (not as fast as you think though, maybe by a reduction in the number of years), yet, this is not safe because they get shredded into tiny particles of what they are made up of, and find their way into the water bodies, soil, etc. Since they just get shredded into tiny particles, they remain a pollutant that they were as a whole, and neither mix with the soil to nourish it or add any value to the water body, thereby affecting the ecosystem.
This post continues with how plastics affect lives/ecosystem and the solutions we can employ.
Written by Oluwabukola Olajide