Why in News?
- A bacterium called Zobellella denitrificans ZD1, has now been reported to aid in the production of bioplastics. They feed on sludge, wastewater and produce polyhydroxybutyrate. The researchers say that this can help reduce the burden on landfills.
- Bioplastics are plastic materials produced from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, straw, woodchips, sawdust, recycled food waste, etc.
- Bioplastic can be made from agricultural by-products and also from used plastics (i.e. plastic bottles and other containers) by using microorganisms.
- Bioplastics are usually derived from sugar derivatives, including starch, cellulose, and lactic acid.
- Common plastics, such as fossil-fuel plastics (also called petrobased polymers) are derived from petroleum or natural gas.
Role of Bacteria
- Bacteria have the ability to produce bioplastics in the form of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and they are capable of producing PHA from various carbon sources ranging from inexpensive, complex waste effluents to alkanes, fatty acids, plant oils and as well as simple carbohydrates.
Need for Bioplastics
- About 140 million tons of plastic are consumed every year worldwide, which necessitates the processing of approximately 150 million tons of fossil fuels and directly causes immense amounts of waste that can take thousands of years to naturally deteriorate, if it degrades at all.
India’s fight against Plastic
- 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country, with 40 per cent plastic waste being uncollected and 60 million tonnes of solid waste generated in one year.
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme – Under the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, producers, importers and brand owners are asked to take primary responsibility for collection of used multi-layered plastic sachets or pouches or packaging.
- Swachhata Hi Seva India Plog Run
- India pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022 and won global acclaim for its “Beat Plastic Pollution” resolve.
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