Plastics In Natural Disasters

The planet is a constantly evolving, often hostile place. Storms, floods, and tornadoes, as well as fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes, are all natural disasters that can cause damage.Do you want to learn more? Visit http://ecotalk.org/top-environmental-disasters-of-the-last-decade/.

The recent earthquakes and tsunamis that devastated Japan and Haiti demonstrate this. We still have man-made disasters to contend with. Concerns over nuclear power in Japan have captivated the interest of people all over the world. Another example of an environmental tragedy is the Gulf Oil Spill. Plastic products are an excellent option for disaster prevention, preparedness, and cleanup.

Plastics play a role in disaster recovery.

Whenever and wherever a natural disaster occurs, many plastic products are used in the prevention, control, and repair management.

Polycarbonate, which is used in hurricane window covers and shutters, is one of the most visible plastics. Polycarbonate is a transparent durable plastic of exceptionally high impact strength that is widely referred to as ‘Bullet Resistant Glazing.’ Safety glasses, riot shields, and bank robbery protection glazing all use it. Extreme winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes cause flying debris and broken glass, which the Polycarbonate protects windows and residents from. Polycarbonate window coverings help protect homes from damage and lower insurance rates.

Storms and heavy rains wreak havoc on hillsides, causing mud slides. Covering hillsides with polyethylene film is the most common and normal solution. This helps to keep the rains from soaking the ground and causing it to change or pass. Poly film comes in widths up to 20 feet and lengths up to 100 feet and is normally.004″ -.010″ thick (the same material used as painters tarps from home improvement centers). This film is then spiked, staked, or sandbagged to the slope, and it sheds the water rather than allowing it to soak in. It can be folded and used to guide water flow away from particular areas, much like rain gutters. Also, the new sand bags are not the old cotton cloth bags used in the past; instead, they are a woven polypropylene ‘fabric’ bag of high strength and tear resistance.

The recent critical problems with nuclear leaks bring to mind an intriguing use of plastic. Following the earthquake and tsunami, Japanese energy experts pumped water and boron into reactors to help monitor the amount of nuclear energy generated. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a plastic substance packed with the natural mineral boron, is used in the nuclear industry. This boron-filled material (typically with a 5% boron content) is used to protect neutrons and nuclear energy in a variety of applications, including nuclear submarines, nuclear power plants, hospital radiation, dental x-ray shielding, and industrial radiation shielding. It’s usually made in sheet form and then placed as shielding in and around the radiation source. The advantage of using this boron-filled HDPE sheet is that it is much lighter than traditional lead shielding and thus much easier to instal.

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