(MENAFN Press) Plastic is a natural product derived from hydrocarbons and is as natural as petrol or diesel, argues the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (AIPMA), the co-organiser of Plastivision Arabia scheduled to be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from May 14 “ 17, 2012.
"It is the misuse and specifically the littering of plastic which is unwarranted and harmful to the environment," said Mr. Jayesh Rambhia, President of AIPMA.
The AIPMA was making a case for putting an end to littering habits and working towards educating the public that plastics have a lower carbon footprint compared to other materials.
For example, plastic bags generate 39 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than uncomposted paper bags; plastic bags consume less than 6 per cent of the water needed to make paper bags; plastic grocery bags consume 71% less energy during production than paper bags; and using paper sacks generates almost five times more solid waste than plastic bags.
"More than 90 per cent of plastic bags or any plastic which is disposed of properly is recycled and will not harm the environment. Any plastic that does not recycle will find its ways to designated land-fills where it will eventually bio-degrade, only if disposed properly," he added.
Some argue that plastic helps the environment is several ways. After all, plastic has been used to make cars lighter. As a result, less oil is used to mobilize the cars and less CO2 is emitted. In addition, plastic containers provide safe ways for disposing of toxic waste products.
"In our society and communities, people litter the landscape with plastics. This not only creates an eyesore with plastic floating at beaches or flying in the desert, but also poses a serious risk to the environment," said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah, the co-organiser of Plastivision Arabia.
Mr Midfa cited a report in the 'Community Reports' section of Gulf News dated April 11, 2012, which had a photograph of a bird struggling to remove pieces of plastic entangled around its neck. "It is a heart-wrenching sight. Had the plastic been disposed of properly, it wouldn't have caused this hardship to this poor creature," Mr Midfa said.
"The municipalities are doing their best in trying to curb this menace and the absence of awareness among the public is the main reason for such practices. The recent announcement of Sharjah Municipality to intensify imposing littering fine will go a long way in reducing littering and promoting recycling of plastic," Mr Midfa said.
"There is no point in hating all plastic products, instead we should actually hate the abuse of plastics. We should hate the way how this incredibly versatile product is made the enemy of public health and environment," Mr Midfa said.
Among the most crucial improvements in technology over the past few hundred years has been the creation of plastic. Today, plastic is used in just about everything we use, and we pay it almost no notice at all.
"Plastic is quite indispensable and there is no complete alternative for it," said Eng. Mohamed Saleh Badri, Director General of the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA).
"We use plastic in almost everything in our daily life, in our cars, at the workplace, in hospitals. However, it is important to manage disposable plastics like shopping bags, packaging, cups and cutlery," he added.
"We have introduced a law to use Oxo bio-degradable plastic in shopping bags and garbage bags across the UAE since the beginning of 2012. Information on this, the proper usage of additives, and registration of additive suppliers will be available at our stand at the forthcoming Plastivision Arabia," he said.
ESMA will also create workshop on the specific requirements for registration of Oxo biodegradable plastic bags as part of Plastivision Arabia.
Plastivision Arabia is organised by Expo Centre Sharjah and the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.