Back

Environmental effects  (case study):

The problem with plastic is that it is not biodegradable, which means that it will never break down completely. While some plastics can be recycled , they can only produce more plastics which does not solve the problem but does diminish the amount of  plastic in the environment. Some plastic claims to be biodegradable, the question is will this plastic ever completely disappear, or just break down into smaller parts.  

When plastic is burned it releases dioxins into the air, another very dangerous substance. Some plastics such as cling flim are actually dangerous in themselves as they contain vinyl chloride. This poisonous chemical can get into food, especially if the food is warm.   

 Plastic shopping bags are ubiquitous in Hong Kong. Sales clerks give them out freely and a colossal waste disposal and environmental problem has been created as a result. The numbers are staggering: 15 million plastic bags are thrown out every day, equivalent to 8 per cent of Hong Kong's municipal solid waste.

The government spends HK$70 million (US$9 million) a year disposing of the bags. But the real, unquantifiable cost is the environmental damage:

        wasted use of land: dumping all the waste plastic bags in landfills takes up large areas of land;

        air pollution: incinerating the bags pollutes the air and threatens health;

        land and water contamination: toxic substances in waste plastic bags may leach out and contaminate land and groundwater.