In a stunning example of the dangers of improper disposal of single use plastics, veterinary surgeons in the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) recently removed 52 kg of plastic from a cow’s stomach. The cow has recovered and would soon be able to go back to its owner.
P. Munirathanam ought this cow about 6 months ago from Vellore. Twenty days ago it gave birth to a calf but it’s milk yield was a measly 3 liters. The cow would also kick its stomach at times and was having difficulty defecating or urinating.. Munirathanam brought the matter to the notice of the local veterinarian who referred the case to TANUVAR.
Examinations revealed that over a two year time period, the cow had eaten enough plastic to fill 75% of its rumen (one of four stomach compartments in a cow). Let me remind you that most of the plastic used today is non-biodegradable and will not be digested by any living being. That means that anything ingested by any living organism will stay in its gut forever, poisoning it.
It is for this reason alone that governments across the globe are trying to ban single use plastics and promoting biodegradable packaging material. Though this seems like an extreme example, unless we take steps to stop this from happening, these incidents will continue to rise in number. Let us all help out by forgoing plastic bags and go for more sustainable materials, if not for the environment then for ourselves. Our future depends on it.