Plastic pollution affects newborns

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT: Jan 14 – One out of 250 male children around the world are born with a condition called hypospadias, says a medical expert who operates on babies to correct the problem. Hypospadias is an abnormality of the genitals.
“Plastic could be one of the reasons why more babies are born with this condition (hypospadias),” said Dr V Sripathi, Senior Paediatric Urologist and Director of Paediatric Urology Fellowship Program at a private children’s hospital in Chennai, India, at a recent seminar.
Experts blame it on the increased exposure to oestrogen (primary female sex hormone). “Plastics do not go away. When they are dumped, they leech into the soil. They get into plants as phytoestrogens. They are ingested by animals where they become animal oestrogens. When both are consumed by us, our oestrogen levels rise considerably,” he said.
The male foetus is adversely affected by the increased levels of female hormone, creating problems in the genital development. “This is only a snapshot of the impact of pollution,” said the paediatric surgeon.
Measures that the world should take are quite a few, he said. “There should be a ban on thin plastics as they are said to be the worst when it comes to pollution.”
He also suggested that some areas be declared as plastic-free zones. “When we talk of pollution, we are also talking about air and water in addition to soil.”
Carrying water in plastic bottles is an issue of concern. Not all bottles are made of quality plastic.
“In the olden days when we did not have plastics, there was something else for carrying water. May be that is the way to go forward. We are looking for convenience and because of convenience, we are harming the future generations,” said Dr Sripathi.
Oman Environment Society has often addressed the issue of using plastic bags. Yet, it continues to be used.
While many have moved forward with organic vegetable gardening, the plastic pots for vegetables can be counterproductive if the quality of plastic is poor.