Every piece of plastic that’s ever been created still exists in our world. Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to our environment. Therefore, now there is a focus on formation of biodegradable plastic. As biodegradable products break down naturally, they eventually decompose and are consumed by soil and other natural components. Currently, fruits and vegetables waste are used for the formation of biodegradable plastic. Therefore, growing demand for bioplastics creates competition for food sources. On the other hand, saline soils occupied more than 20% of the world's irrigated area by the mid-1990s. Due to edaphic factors, agricultural land is also converting into saline land and causing depletion of fertile land; coastal and arid areas are under prone zones. Hence, there is need to use saline wasteland to complete future demands of increasing population. Looking the current scenario, it has become very essential to resolve this issue by identifying crops which can grow on wasteland without compromising end product. Halophytes are salt loving plants and grow on high total dissolve solids. The halophytic plants are not currently utilized for any other commercial product and are native to coastal areas of Karachi. Therefore, these plants can be targeted for the formation of biodegradable plastic. In this study, biodegradable plastic was formed using the halophytic plants, Phragmites karka, Cressa cretica and Saudea fructicosa. Plastic formed by using halophytic plants was found to be biodegradable in soil. Biodegradable plastic formation using the cell wall components such as lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose extracted from halophytic plants has the potential to become a sustainable source in future for the formation of biodegradable plastic replacing currently used food sources such as fruits.
What will audience learn from your presentation?
- The weathering of plastics results in formation of microplastics which are now being detected in the snow of remote areas such as Antarctica region and in the guts of fishes. It is an alarming situation and must be solved by replacing it with sustainable biodegradable plastic which completely degrades in the soil. Moreover, the biodegradable plastic currently is made by using fruits, however, switching to a reed grass for the production of biodegradable plastic is more feasible in future.
- Biodegradable plastic is non-toxic since they have no chemicals or toxins. Recycling helps to lessen landfill problems, and besides, the recycled bio-waste can be used as compost or as renewable energy for biogas.
- Extraction of cell wall components such as lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose from the three common halophytic plant species namely Phragmites karka, Cressa cretica and Saudea fructicosa. Plastic formed by using halophytic plant components can easily be degraded by soil microorganisms and will also help in improving the fertility of soil.
- Audience will learn about the usage of halophytic plants for the formation of biodegradable plastic.