Polythene: A Disaster

Hundreds of new products are appearing in the market every day, which are dramatically proliferating into the common man’s life. Polythene is one such product, which due to its ease of use, hardiness, lightweight, waterproof nature and low cost has found wide applicability in modern society. It is largely used for packaging and storing and is most widely used as carry-bags. As the consumption of polythene has increased enormously, so has the accumulation of waste polythene, particularly in urban areas! Polythene bags lying in garbage heaps and blowing here and there has become a common sight today at most of the public places, residential colonies, tourist complexes etc., which not only is an eye-sore but also has serious environmental implications.

Polythene is non-degradable in nature in the sense that it is not degraded easily and will take hundreds of years to degrade. Chemically, polythene is a polymer of ethylene of high molecular weight. It is a thermoplastic material which when heated gets softened due to weakening of intermolecular forces and melts. On cooling, it solidifies again.

The main problem with polythene is associated with its non-degradable nature which raises the question regarding its disposability. After using the consumables contained within the polybags, the latter are just thrown away. Being light in weight, they blow away with wind and reach the drains and often cause blockage of sewage and flooding of streets, much to the discomfort of the public who themselves are the causative agents of such problems. It is a common practice to pack up the household trash in polybags and throw it away. Hardly do we realise that by doing so we are not even allowing the biodegradable kitchen-waste to get decomposed freely in the soil by microbes or even allowing the same to be eaten by animals!

Quite often cows and stray animals try to tear open the polybags in search of food and get injured by broken glass, blades, pins etc. contained therein, because very few of us ever care to segregate these materials from the kitchen waste.

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Word Meanings

trophic: relating to nutrition in a food chain.
debris: broken pieces of something larger organic: coming from living plants and animals marine: related to the sea
bryozoans: minute mollusc animals living together in moss
polychaetes: a class of sea worms
crab: a sea animal with five pairs of legs
mollusc: an animal with a soft body often covered with a shell, usually living in the water
alien: foreign
carcinogen: cancer-causing substance
leach out: pass on
to contaminate: make impure
AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome: a serious disease caused by a virus which destroys the body’s natural protection from infection, and which usually causes death
thrombosis: formation of a blood clot in a vessel
retard: to make something slower
non-permeability: the condition of not allowing gases or liquids to go through
stray: of an animal without shelter or an owner
veterinary: connected with taking care of the health of animals
SRO: Statutory Rules and Orders
Posterity: future generation

Working with Text | Question Answers

Q.1 What is polythene and who discovered it?
Ans. Polythene is a tough, light flexible synthetic resin made by polymerizing ethylene, chiefly used for plastic bags, food containers, and other packaging.

It was discovered by a German scientist, Hans von Pechmann who had, completely by accident, made it, away residue at the bottom of his test tube.

Q.2 What does Rakesh’s father expect from the kids?
Ans. Rakesh‘s father expects from the kids that they will stop using polythene bags which the elders have so far failed to do. They have to make a promise not to use polythene and also encourage other kids in their schools and neighbourhood not to do so.

Q.3 Why is polythene widely used?
Ans. Polythene is widely used because the bags made from it are cheap and easy to carry. They are also used as packing bags. Most people also find them easy to dispose of after use as they are very light and can be easily thrown away.

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Q.4 What is biodegradation?
Ans. Biodegradation is a process with which the things, like sewage constituents, packaging material, etc. decompose on their own by bacteria or other biological means. But so far as polythene is concerned, it does not decay on its own. It can‘t be even burnt/burned as the burning would cause immense air pollution.

Q.5 What are the harmful effects of polythene?
Ans. Polythene has many harmful effects in our day to day life. It is the cause of diseases like malaria, cholera, etc. It also increases infertility. In addition to this, it plays a major role in the blockage of water systems like sewerage and water pipes, causing floods during moderate or heavy rainfall. Nowadays, rivers, lakes and small streams have become dumping sites of polythene bags which has become the cause of several problems for plants and animals living in and underwater.

Q.6 How is the soil affected by polythene?
Ans. Polythene, after remaining in the soil, damages the ecosystem of soil by retarding its carrying capacity. Besides, it has the property of non-permeability, so it cuts off respiration of soil system which in turn not only affects plant life but also other creatures living in the soil.

Q.7 How does polythene affect animals?
Ans. The polythene bags that lie on the roads are often eaten by stray animals which can cause their death.
Besides, it is estimated that about one billion marine animals die each year due to polythene pollution.

Q.8 What is SRO 182?
Ans. SRO 182 (Statutory Rules and Orders) (dated 18/06/2008) is a law made by the government of Jammu and Kashmir by which use of polythene has been banned within the territorial limits of the state.

Q.9 How can we save our posterity from the harmful effects of polythene?
Ans. In order to save ourselves and our posterity from the harmful effects of polythene, it is our responsibility to completely avoid the use of polythene.

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Language Work

1.Choose the correct sentence from the following: (Answers only)


1. I knew him since 2009.

2. The freedom struggle against the Maharaja started in1930.

3.Television revolutionized the game of cricket in 1980.

4.The economic depression in the USA started in 1920.

2. Give the full forms of following acronyms.


(a). IPL: Indian Premier League

(b). WHO: World Health Organization

(c). WWF: World Wildlife Fund

(d). ILO: International Labour Organization (Office)

(e). BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation

(f). FIFA: Federation International Football Association

(g). HBO: Home Box Office

(h). PIL: Public Interest Litigation

(i). ICC: Integrated Circuit(Chip) Card

(j). IMF: International Monetary Fund

Q. Say which of the following sentences are simple, compound and complex.

1) I don‘t like girls/boys who are lazy
Ans. Complex sentence

2) He called her but didn‘t respond
Ans. Compound sentence.
3) She went because she was invited
Ans. Complex sentence.

4) You should work hard or you will fail
Ans. Compound sentence.

5) Man proposes, but God disposes
Ans. Compound sentences.

6) He stood first in the class
Ans. Simple sentence.

7) They must apologize or they will be punished.
Ans. Compound sentence.
8) She must apologize to avoid punishment.
Ans. Simple sentence.

9) The mother hit him and made him cry.
Ans. Compound sentence

10) She succeeded in the very first attempt. Ans. Simple sentence.

11) She has lost the book that my brother had given her.
Ans. Complex sentence.

12) Men may come and men may go but I go on forever.
Ans. Compound sentence.

13) We eat so that we may live.
Ans. Complex sentence.

14) They serve God well who serve His creatures.
Ans. Complex sentence.

15) One blushes when one is guilty.
Ans. Complex sentence.

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