Issue in Using Synthetic Polymers

  1. Synthetic polymers have multiple uses in daily life because of the following properties:
    1. Light and strong
    2. Relatively cheap
    3. Withstand corrosion and chemical reaction
    4. Withstand action of water
    5. Non-flammable
    6. Can be colour easily
    7. Easily mould to shape
  2. Synthetic polymers are also used to replace natural polymers such as cotton, silk and rubber.
  3. However, synthetic polymers cause environmental pollution.
    1. Most polymers are not biodegradable . Disposal of polymers has resulted in environmental.
    2. The open burning of plastics gives rise to poisonous and acidic gases like carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen cyanide. These are harmful to the environment as they cause acid rain.
    3. Burning of plastics can also produce carbon dioxide, too much of this gas in the atmosphere leads to the `greenhouse effect'.
  4. These problem can be overcome by the following ways:
    1. Recycling polymers: Plastics can be decomposed by heating them without oxygen at 700°C. This process is called pyrolysis. The products of this process are then recycled into new products.
    2. Inventing biodegradable polymers: Such polymers should be mixed with substances that can be decomposed by bacteria (to become biodegradable) or light (to become photodegradable).


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