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September 5, 2013

Death by Plastic

Filed under: education — Tags: , , — neosurya @ 17:42

Imagine someone were to feed you small doses of plastic with your daily lunch. And then, over a period of a few months, you suffer from a dull ache in the stomach. The sensation grows into an agonizing pain. One day, you are unable to bear it any longer, and settle down in a quite corner, awaiting for death to relieve you of the suffering. The buffalo you see in the pictures below went through the same phenomenon.

Buffalo dead by the roadside, plastic in its stomach.

Buffalo dead by the roadside, plastic in its stomach. Not far from Aparna Sarovar near Gachibowli, Hyderabad

Buffalo with plastic in its belly

Buffalo with plastic in its belly

The head of a fully grown Buffalo, killed by the plastic in its belly.

The head of a fully grown Buffalo, killed by the plastic in its belly.

On my daily commute yesterday (4th Sept), I took a detour to ride through some of the back alleys near Aparna Sarovar. I rode past the empty HUDA layouts of Nanakramguda, past a spacious temple that was rendering a recorded Sri Suktam. Crossing a pack of dogs, I came upon a large mass of plastic by the roadside. At first sight, this would have been your friendly roadside dump; A product of the many colonies that want the convenience of a plastic lifestyle, but do not want the nuisance of its disposal. But there was a different stench coming from this pile, and the plastic was too tightly wrapped for a roadside dump. When I saw the characteristic placement of the pile, the series of ribs, and the smell of rotting flesh, I realized that this pile was different. The horns told me that it was a Buffalo, and the size of the pile meant that it had a very painful death. Going by the size, the plastic could have been easily about 40-50 kilos. And given that there was almost no skin or flesh on the bones, the death happened at least a couple of months ago.

I had known this for a very long time that Plastic kills animals (See these links: Harmful Effect of Plastic in Animals, you tube video, Plastic Bags & Animals: Making the Wild Safe for Wildlife, Pacific Ocean trash patch mystery: How many fish eat plastic?). Even sea fish, and wildlife are affected by eating trash. The toxins in plastic ultimately make it into our food chain as well. But for the first time, I was seeing the carcass of an animal that died of acute plastic poisoning. A few months ago, had vehemently asked my family to be completely plastic free. I could not get my family to comply fully, but made some partial progress. I should try harder.


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