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How Hemp Can Save India from Plastic Pollution

How Hemp Can Save India from Plastic Pollution

Plastics are used in large quantities in various forms across households and daily industrial practices; the consequence – plastic pollution in India is at a record high.

We use plastics every day, from the toothbrush to the grocery and goodies we carry in plastic bags – all of which are made from plastic. And it is not new that plastic is awful for the environment, and also for our health. But maybe we do not know how bad, or why plastic is detrimental to everything.

Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change in India, in the Lok Sabha address on 22nd November 2019, brought to the attention that up to 40% of all plastic waste in India remains littered on the streets, and even worse, they stay uncollected.

According to a report based on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCD), the Minister stated that 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in the country every single day.

Let us now discuss at length to what extent plastic is terrible for us, what consequences we and our environment face as a result of its use, and how hemp can be a savior for our massively damaged nature.

How Bad Is Plastic Pollution In India?

Plastic pollution is one of the most significant sources of pollution globally. More than 200 million tons of plastics are produced every year. And, this is just the number of plastic bags. Imagine the amount of plastic used globally every year for all the different commodities that are made of plastic.

All of which ends up in the landfill and lie there for decades without any decomposition. This, in turn, leads to irreparable damage to the soil and health of the atmosphere.

A study based on the Central Pollution Control Board shows, the 60 major cities of India alone gather up a whopping 4,059 tonnes of the plastic waste pile every day.

Is There An Alternative To The Plastic Carnage?

But if so many commodities that we use every day and are so integral in our lives, are made from plastic, how can we make a decision? Do we stop using everything abruptly, or is there any alternative to this enigma?

The answer is the miraculous hemp plastic, which is a perfect substitute for polypropylene plastic. Hemp plastic can be the future of plastic. It is produced from the stalk of the hemp plant. The hemp plant has high quantities of cellulose-— the key ingredient to manufacture plastic.

Hemp contains about 65 to 70% cellulose. When the cellulose is extracted, it can be used to make celluloid, cellophane, rayon, and many other related plastics. Even though 100% of hemp-based plastic is still rarely located, a specific variety of plastic made from a combination of hemp and other plants, called composite bioplastics, are now widely used in the construction industry.

Let us now take a closer look at the several advantages of hemp plastic, and how it can save India from its lethal plastic footprint on this planet.

Petroleum-based Plastic vs. Hemp Plastic

You may have heard of petroleum-based plastics, which are also recyclable, so you might wonder why not use them? Here are some facts:

● Petroleum-based plastics are not eco-friendly like hemp plastic, because they contain considerable amounts of toxic chemicals, one of which is the Bisphenol-A or BPA.

● BPA plastic is used in everyday products such as food storage containers, canned food, water bottles, toiletries, female sanitary products, household electronics, eyewear lenses, and the list goes on.

● BPA free bottles are not fit to be healthy alternatives either as the bisphenol-A is merely replaced with bisphenol-S and bisphenol-F, which are also very bad for the human body.

● This deadly chemical gets into your system through the food or drinks when you are consuming it from the plastic container. This happens because when BPA containers are manufactured, the bisphenol-A gets sealed into the products, part of which breaks free and infiltrates the contents of the box, whether it is food or fluid.

● A recent study at the Harvard School Of Public Health showed that the urine of people who consumed canned soup had a 1000% higher BPA levels in their urine than those consumed freshly made soup.

● Research showed that BPA levels were eight times lower in babies who were breastfed than those babies who were fed formula from bottles containing BPA plastic.

How And Where Can Hemp Plastic Be Used?

Source: Hempcrete

1. Hemp Plastic For Building Materials
Hemp plastic is serving as an excellent alternative to polymer plastics. They are now being used as substitutes for plastic for building materials. They are used to make plasterboard, concrete, and also hemp plastic.

Hemp plastics are sturdier than plasterboards and much safer to use, which makes them the ideal replacement for all conventional polymer plastics that are used in massive quantities, especially in the car manufacturing industry.
2. Hemp In The Automobile Industry

It is well known how widely plastic is consumed for the manufacturing of cars. However, several car manufacturers are now choosing hemp plastics over polymer plastics. The added advantages of using hemp plastic in the car manufacturing industry are that they are fuel-efficient, and the products weigh up to 30% lighter than regular plastics.

Hemp plastic is five times stiffer and three times stronger than polypropylene, which is the most common type of plastic.

The use of hemp-based plastics is also environment-friendly measures because they are entirely biodegradable, leaving no environmental menace whatsoever.

What Are The Features Of Hemp Plastic?

1. Hemp Plastics are Biodegradable And Completely Recyclable

Hemp plastic takes only 3 to 6 months to decompose fully and therefore has a low environmental impact. Given its sustainable characteristics, it has more longevity, as it can be recycled and reproduced any time into anything. While conventional plastic has the most damaging effects on the environment as they take centuries to biodegrade. The everyday items take around 450 to 1000 years to decompose.

2. Hemp Is Resistant To Heat

Most hemp plastics are heat resistant and U.V resistant and offer dimensional stability while manufacturing. Hemp plastics are also more durable and considered two and a half times stronger than regular plastics made from polypropylene.
Therefore, homes made of hempcrete walls (a building material made from the hemp plant) are nearly fire-resistant. Hemp also has excellent mold and bacteria resistance, making it one of the most versatile plants for industrial and environmental purposes.

3. Bisphenol-A Is Highly-toxic While Hemp Plastic Is Non-toxic

BPA is an endocrine disruptor that imitates the body’s natural hormones and interferes with natural body functions causing severe hormonal disruptions. It is responsible for major reproductive disorders, massive cardiovascular problems, diabetes type 2. Bisphenol-A is highly carcinogenic and is responsible for breast cancer and prostate cancer.
On the other hand, hemp plastics has none of that. It is entirely free of BPA, and hence, absolutely non-toxic. Not only does it not have endocrine disruptors, but no toxic fumes are released during the manufacturing process of the hemp plastic.

3. Bisphenol-A Is Highly-toxic While Hemp Plastic Is Non-toxic

BPA is an endocrine disruptor that imitates the body’s natural hormones and interferes with natural body functions causing severe hormonal disruptions. It is responsible for major reproductive disorders, massive cardiovascular problems, diabetes type 2. Bisphenol-A is highly carcinogenic and is responsible for breast cancer and prostate cancer.
On the other hand, hemp plastics has none of that. It is entirely free of BPA, and hence, absolutely non-toxic. Not only does it not have endocrine disruptors, but no toxic fumes are released during the manufacturing process of the hemp plastic.

4. Hemp Plastic Is Very Versatile

Hemp plastic is easily molded into any shape, and therefore can replace thousands of plastic products made using petroleum. It can be used to manufacture containers, electronic gadgets, bottles, cosmetics, bags, bottles, eyeglasses, toothbrush, comb, straws, furniture, and even boats and parts of cars. The list goes on.
Petrochemical plastics are also expensive to manufacture besides being unfriendly to nature while manufacturing hemp plastic is more cost-effective and easy to make.

5. Hemp Plastic Can Be The Savior of Endangered Wildlife

A study published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation along with the Imperial College of London stated that 60% of all seabirds on the planet have plastic in their stomachs. By 2050, researchers predict that 99% of seabirds will suffer the same fate.

When plastic stays in exposure to the sun, it breaks down into smaller particles that get ingested by marine life — congestion of plastic causes inevitable deaths of these birds and animals in large numbers.

The excellent news is hemp plastic is non-toxic and is readily biodegradable. If we can successfully turn to use hemp-based plastic commodities, we will also be saving our seas from hazardous petrochemical plastics.

Given the detrimental condition and rising levels of plastic pollution in India and the world,, all we can do is to become more conscious of what we use and how we use it. Hemp proves itself to be the greatest panacea to several raging environmental issues we are meeting closely, and that calls for urgent sustainable actions.

The starting of cultivation of the hemp crop can be miraculous to nature, the health of people in general, and in boosting the country’s economy on so many different levels. Therefore, this issue calls forth immediate attention.

The society has to be more appreciative and pro-informative of environment-friendly measures instead of getting looped into the vicious circle of never-ending plastic pollution in India.

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