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Humans – The Real Threat to Life on Earth

The environment is the source of everyone’s needs. It is where one gets food, materials and shelter. It is from the environment that people obtain the air they breathe. However, this environment has been destroyed since then and until now. One of the environmental concerns around the world is the large number of plastic wastes deposited in domestic wastes and landfills.

The use of plastic has been on the rise in recent years. The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tons in the 1950’s to nearly 100 million tons in recent years (Gourmelon, 2015).

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Among these wastes, a small part is being recycled, but the majority of these, though recyclable, remain untouched.

The said wastes are just being dumped in landfills. This act poses a significant environmental hazard as it will result in the reduction of soil fertility, reduction in water percolation, emission of toxic gases, emission of hazardous chemicals to animals, and pollution of ground water because of the leaching chemicals from these wastes.

The productive use of waste material represents a means of alleviating some of the problems of solid waste management (Davis and Cornwell, 1998). From different points of view, it is important to reuse waste plastic. It helps to save and sustain natural resources that are not replenished, it decreases the pollution of the environment and it also helps to save and recycle energy production processes. Wastes and industrial by-products should be considered as potentially valuable resources merely awaiting appropriate treatment and application.

With the rising consumption of plastic materials in recent times and its negative impacts to the environment it is evident that one must find a way to alleviate this problem. If not dealt with properly, the rising consumption of plastic materials might result to a dirtier and destructive environmental situation. The use of recycled plastic materials in the concrete mixture as a fine aggregate replacement is one way of alleviating this problem.

Concrete plays a very important role in the advantageous use of these materials in construction activities. From tall buildings down to a one storey house, concrete is essential for its durability. Some waste materials can be constructively included or used in concrete, both as part of the fibrous materials or as aggregates, but it is important to understand that not all waste materials are suitable for such type of use because it might affect its durability and stability (Anon, 2003).

This research is conducted to determine the durability of using recycled plastic as fine aggregate to cement mixture compared to sand as an aggregate. In this light, determining the durability of recycled plastics as fine aggregate in concrete mixture is essential to gain knowledge and determine its applicability and effectiveness in concrete construction.