Basic Science

Why is Plastic Non-biodegradable?

In our everyday life, the use of plastic is very common. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, water pipes, slippers, chairs, tables etc. are made of plastic. It is now a very popular material.

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Now, what is plastic? Why is plastic so important and popular?
Plastic is a synthetic material. This means that it is a man-made material; simply put, we can say that plastic is made from a special type of molecules known as polymers.

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Plastic has some special features which make it so special.

These are: It is lightweight and can be handled easily. Plastic buckets, plastic chairs, shelf etc. have replaced metal objects.

It can be easily moulded to give any shape. It is water-resistant. Water cannot pass through a plastic sheet. It is also electricity-resistant. It is widely used to make water pipes and insulators.

It is also resistant to chemicals and is considered to be a very useful material in the packaging industry.
Despite of the above mentioned advantages, plastic has now become a threat to the environment. The main reason for this is that it cannot be destroyed. It is non-biodegradable.

Now, what are non-biodegradable materials? Non-biodegradable things are those which cannot be destroyed naturally.

We have already mentioned that plastics are made of polymers and existing organisms (decomposers) on earth cannot break down polymer. Organisms can cause decomposition of natural materials. But plastics are not natural and thus are not destructible by decomposers or by heat, water etc.

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It remains intact for many years and so, is gradually accumulating on earth, under the oceans and rivers as garbage. It is polluting our environment. Every day tonnes of plastic garbage are being collected from sea beaches, from mountains, forests and water bodies. Due to the accumulation of plastic materials, underground drainage systems are choked, causing floods during rainy season.

Now-a-days environmentalists and scientists are concerned about this problem. They are trying to find out alternatives to plastic materials. In shops paper bags or cloth bags are being used. Plastic materials are being recycled.

To save our planet and to save human beings and animals from the hazards of plastics, we should cooperate with environmentalists and administration in the preservation of the environment.

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Susmita Dasgupta

Susmita is a trained, veteran primary school teacher. She loves to teach and to make learning exciting for children. One of her great passions in life is to create in her students a curiosity about life and all its accompanying mysteries.

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