5.6 Million tonnes – that is approximately how much plastic waste India generates every year. While the numbers are a cause for concern, the impact of the same on the environment is both far-reaching and devastating.
Understanding the consequences is important and to enable us to protect our environment from the harmful effects of plastics, the theme for this year’s World Environment Day is “Beat Plastic Pollution”- with India as the global host.
While the implications of plastic pollution are spreading across water land and air, one of the most affected elements is soil. India being a predominantly agricultural economy consequently stands to be affected most.
So, why does plastic cause pollution?
Simply because, the hydrocarbon in the plastic does not break down and a plastic, once created, will never break down and integrate naturally into the soil. This, in turn, renders the soil and land less fertile. Plastic contaminants are also deposited within the soil and water making it toxic for humans, plants and animals.
Providing sustainable solutions and taking care of our environment is of extreme importance to Monsanto. Read on to know more about our efforts to tackle this menace.
Tackling the Plastic Problem by Proper Waste Disposal
The Vegetable Research and Development program is involved in breeding vegetables like tomato and pepper. The team uses plastic mulch sheets to retain moisture in the soil for a longer duration, improve soil health and fertility and reduce weed growth. While the crops get the maximum benefit of mulch, the side effect of the same is a generation of plastic mulch waste which if not disposed off properly may lead to environmental hazards. Understanding the need, and in order to sustainably dispose of this waste, the team collaborated with a local NGO which supports children with special needs. The NGO collected the site’s mulch plastic waste and disposed of them in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
We at Monsanto take the responsibility of keeping our environment clean and hygienic. Hence, we are constantly making an effort to reduce and re-use plastic and other waste generated at the site. Many of these waste are re-used to create decorative objects which are used to beautify the site premises. By doing so, we are considerably reducing disposal of plastic and other wastes.
-Preethi Bhat, ESH Generalist
With policies leaning towards plastic usage being banned in certain parts of the country, there is hope that the overall generation of plastic waste will reduce considerably. Until then, there is a growing need for better methods of plastic recycling and re-usage.