300 thrown into the ocean year after year (The

300 million metric tonnes of plastic is produced per annum (Tom Szaky, 2017), out of which a minimum of 8 million tonnes of plastic is thrown into the ocean year after year (The New Plastics Economy team, 2016). A simple calculation shows that this means that 2.7% of the total amount of plastic manufactured each year goes into the ocean. This staggering statistic is rapidly increasing and is expected to double by 2030 and figures predict that for every tonne of fish in the ocean in 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean (The New Plastics Economy team, 2016). The graph given below is a visual compilation of research that was conducted by The Marine Conservancy – it is an estimation of the decomposition rates of marine debris; according to the graph, most plastic will outlive its consumer and since 50% of all plastic is used only once and then thrown away (Plastic Oceans Foundation, 2018), something must be done to reduce the production of non-biodegradable plastic. Since the discovery of plastic in 1907 by Leo Hendrik Baekeland, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced; out of which, 6.3 billion metric tonnes has become plastic waste (79%), 0.996 billion metric tonnes has been incinerated (12%) and 0.747 billion metric tonnes has been recycled (9%). Plastic can take up to 400 years or longer to degrade. ┬áTo battle this perverse invasion of plastic on our planet, an invention known as bioplastic has become recognised as a possible alternative to normal plastic, but plastic, whether biodegradable or not, has a highly complex structure and is not easily degraded or decomposed. Bioplastic is made from an organic biomass such as corn that is made up of biopolymers (cellulose, starch, glycerol, etc) by the process of polymerisation. The raw ingredient is foremostly fermented to produce a monomer called lactic acid and then polymerised to create polylactic acid (PLA). Although there is a lot of hype or aggrandizement about bioplastic in today’s world, it isn’t a novel idea and was discovered two decades after normal plastic in 1926 by Maurice Lemoigne (a french researcher).

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