Harmful effects of plastic on cows and PM Narendra Modi’s message to save Cows

We everyone knows how hazardous plastic is for the environment.  Whenever we throws something like paper, food etc in the environment, there are some bacteria which grows on it, and covert this food, papers into something which mixes into the environment, some turning into useful for growing of trees, we call those items as biodegradable items. Biodegradable items are capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution.

Whereas Plastic is a “Non-Biodegradable” item. Non-biodegradable waste is a type of waste that can not be broken down into its base compounds by micro-organisms, air, moisture or soil in a reasonable amount of time. Non-biodegradable waste is an environmental concern, as it threatens to overwhelm landfills and create disposal problems.

Img credit : http://vspca.org
Img credit : http://vspca.org

In past VSPCA (Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals), through their “Plastic Cow Project” has done extensive reasearch on the impacts of plastic on the street cows, and how they die a painful death due to having plastic in their stomach. VSPCA also tried to rescue those cows and do the operations on them to get the plastic removed. You can find mode details about the “Plastic Cow Project” as VSPCA website.

In 2013 , after petition from some Animal welfare organisation, Honerable Supreme court of India has said that “Plastic waste a ticking time bomb in India” and had directed the State Governments to issue appropriate directions prohibiting the use, sale and disposal of plastic bags in all municipalities and municipal corporations within their territory.

Preventing Cows from eating plastic is true Gau-Sewa: PM Narendra Modi
Preventing Cows from eating plastic is true Gau-Sewa: PM Narendra Modi

Last year ( 2015 ) Union Environment Minister Parkash Javadekar had said that every dead cow contains not less than 30 kgs of plastic. While talking in a town-hall meeting recently, Honorable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi said that preventing cows from eating the plastic is the only way to save cows because more cows dies due to plastic than any other reason.

Now, as PM Modi has again highlighted the use of plastic and its harmful effects on environment and health and living of cows,Green Ecosystem vows to do all & everything we can do to suport PM’s statement and avoid use of plastic to save the environment & cows. We look forward for similar help from our readers and well wishers.

Reference :

http://southasia.oneworld.net – Plastic waste a ticking time bomb in India: Supreme Court

Click to access wc15412p-2014_11_18.pdf

ndtv.com – 30 Kg Plastic Can Be Found in Every Dead Cow in India, Says Union Environment Minister

1 thought on “Harmful effects of plastic on cows and PM Narendra Modi’s message to save Cows”

  1. The dairy and cattle owners are

    responsible for the plights of cows after milking

    them in the morning. They allow the cows and

    virtually push them out of shelters to find food

    available in dumps of debris lying around the city.

    The Indian Cow Oct-Dec, 2005


    Bhupendra Singh, III/ 1, Ramganga Colony, Dhampur, Distt. Bijnor (UP)

    Harmful Effects

    The coming known examples of

    hazardousness produced by plastics define that

    only some of plastics are responsible for that –

    Mainly polyethylene and Polyvinyle chloride

    because both of these two are using for food

    grade applications at very large scale.


    Though, there is no such systematic

    study on polythene and plastic induced

    pathological lesions in animals. However, there

    are scattered reports in literature and that too in

    popular media. An attempt is made to collect

    information from various sources and present in

    a consolidated form.

    1. Five cows were choked to death in Jaipur due

    to blockage of their digestive tract following

    consumption of polythene bags.

    2. Two cows were operated and 48 kg of

    polythene and 287 foreign bodies were recovered

    from rumen/ reticulum of the cows by Veterinary

    Surgeons in Jammu.

    3. On an average about 25 cases were recorded

    each year in polyclinic of CCS HAU, Hisar, which

    were operated to remove the polythene from

    stomach of cows. It is believed that there are

    much largers numbers of stray animals which

    after conserving polythene simply end up in death.

    4. As per the Greek publication plastic bags kill

    10,000 Mediterranean fish each day.

    5. It has been recorded that 95% of urban stray

    cattle in India suffering from various ailments due

    to hazardous material inside their abdomen, out

    of them 90% are plastic bags.

    6. Plastic bags are major cause of unsightly lit-

    ter and also harm wildlife like deer etc. In a

    report, polybezoars containing polythenes and

    plant materials along with salt deposits were

    found in stomach of a barking deer which

    comprises into 3 pieces each measuring 4-5 cm

    in diameter and hard to touch. It was found

    responsible for blocking of rumeno-reticulum

    opening leading to death of barking deer.

    7. Plastic bags that end up at sea are easily

    swallowed by marine life that mistake them for

    food. An estimated 1,00,000 whales, seals, turtles

    and other marine life die every year after

    swallowing plastic bags.

    8. A seriously ill cow was operated in Bhuj by a

    Veterinary Surgeon and about 4000 plastic bags

    were found in stomach with other non-digestible


    9. In Delhi zoo, a Swamp deer and a Sangai deer

    died due to plastic bags.

    10.SPCA Veterinarian operated more than 15

    cows and found about 10 kg plastic waste in

    stomach of each cow.


    The dairy and cattle owners are

    responsible for the plights of cows after milking

    them in the morning. They allow the cows and

    virtually push them out of shelters to find food

    available in dumps of debris lying around the city.

    The Indian Cow Oct-Dec, 2005

    Stray cows are generally seen on the roadsides

    eating away the plastic bags and their contents

    in search of food items.

    The ingested polythene hinders the

    process of fermentation and mixing of contents

    leading to indigestion. They also obstruct the

    orifice between reticulum and omasum. If not

    removed though surgery, polythenes may become

    fatal. The plastic bags cannot be digested or

    passed as such through faeces by an animal.

    They stay in the gut causing pain and death.

    When dead animal decay, the bags are freed and

    often eaten again by other animals and this cycle

    may continue for many years to come. Marine

    animals often mistake them for jellyfish and eat

    them. The birds are many times entangled in

    plastic bags who cannot fly then and die of


    The toxic contents of plastic may also enter

    in man through milk produced by such cows. The

    foreign bodies like hard metal needles, wires,

    nails, etc. are also disposed alongwith other

    house waste in polythene bags, which after

    consuming by cows may settle in reticulum

    giving rise to a condition “tranmatic reticulo

    pericarditis (TRP)”. One can see many stray

    cows found on roadsides with TRP where in their

    foreleg portion is found swollen.


    Various pathological conditions are

    encountered due to plastic and polythene in


    1. Indigestion: The polythenes and other

    plastic material do not degrade in rumen/

    reticulum and remain as such causing hindrance

    in orifice. When it is mixed with feed, the

    ingredients are also trapped in between

    polythenes which becomes tight due to ruminal

    movements. This whole process also affects the

    rumen microflora leading to indigestion of feed.

    2. Impaction: Rumen becomes impacted due

    to presence of large quantities of polythene bags/

    plastics in rumen accumulated over a period of

    time. This leads to rumenatony and decrease in

    rumen motility.

    3. Tympany: When polythenes present in rumen

    and reticulum, they partially or completely occlude

    the orifice of reticulum and omasum leading to

    accumulation of gases in rumen. The situation

    becomes worsen if such animal is fed with

    legumes or other gas forming feed/ concentrates.

    Accumulation of gases in rumen give rise to bloat

    or tympany which becomes fatal, if the gases are

    not properly removed. Sometimes the poly bags

    present in rumen may also occlude oesophageal

    orifice leading to hindrance in eructation. This

    gives rise to dyspnoea and death.

    4. Polybezoars: The formation of stones in

    digestive tract and around polythenes is known

    as polybezoars. In this the principal constituent

    is polythene and plant material, around which

    salts are deposited that gives rise to the

    formation of hard stone like mass in stomach.

    Such hard mass not only causes hindrance in

    food passage but also leads to pain and

    inflammation of rumen.

    5. Traumatic reticulo pericarditis: Many times

    nails, wires or other sharp hard objects are also

    disposed in poly bags as waste and dropped in

    waste pits. From where there may eaten up by

    cows along with food/feed items and get trapped

    in reticulum causing damage. With the passage

    of time and ruminal movements sharp objects

    penetrate wall of reticulum and diaphragm to

    invade heart leading to traumatic pericarditis. One

    may find many animals on streets with swollen

    brisket region and pain. On postmortem

    examination, bread and butter appearance of

    heart has been recorded with presence of

    needles/ sharp objects penetrating heart/

    diaphragm through reticulum along with the

    presence of large quantities of polythenes in

    rumen and/or reticulum. Perforation of reticulum

    and diaphragm by foreign body and presence of

    adhesions are also observed.

    6. Immunosuppression: It has been observed

    that cows with polythenes in their stomach also

    suffer from immunosuppression that leads to

    increased sensitivity to various infections

    particularly of haemorrhagic septicemia

    (Pasteurellosis). During investigation of an

    outbreak at Rishikesh, cows were suffering from

    HS during rainy season. When postmortem

    examination was conducted on dead cows, the

    rumen was found completely filled with polythenes

    with characteristic lesions of HS in lungs, brisket

    and throat region. Polythenes and plastic contain

    several chemicals like polyvinyl chloride,

    cadmium, lead, acrylamide, polyethene, etc.,

    which are known immunosuppressants.

    Besides, due to lack of proper nutrition,

    animal becomes weak and immunodeficient.

    Such animals are also prone to development of

    cancer. The presence of toxic chemicals may also

    damage epithelial lining that leads to urolithiasis

    particularly in kidneys.

    Since there is no systematic

    experimental study on the effect of polythenes

    on livestock and/or human health, it is suggested

    to undertake such studies with respect to clinical

    pathology, histopathology and immunopathology

    in cattle fed with different doses, colour and types

    of polythenes.

    Reasons for harmfulness by plastics polymeric


    As the name plastics comes, the picture

    or polyethylene comes in mind suddenly and click

    the various forms of polyethylene because

    polyethylene is famous as plastic. Generally

    every one think that polyethylene is plastics and

    plastic is polyethylene. while the actual picture is

    too much differ with this thought. A man when

    think about plastics it is 99% possible that he will

    be in the contact of any form of plastics at that

    time too. As it stands today it is impossible not

    only during production but also in everyday life to

    prevent the population from coming into contact

    with plastics. In any case, approximately 70 – 80

    % of food is packaged in various polymeric


    Plastic industry contributes nearly 1/10 of

    toxic releases in the environment. Significant

    releases of toxic chemicals included:

    Tri cloro ethane, Acetone, Methylene

    chloride, Methyl ethyl ketone, Styrene, Toluene,

    Benzene, 1,1,1,Trichloroethane. Other major

    emissions form plastics production process

    include sulphur oxides, Nitrous oxides, Methanol,

    Ethylene oxide and volatile organic compounds.

    Less visible but very serious is the pollution

    generated by producing plastic resin. As

    ethylene polymerized, the reactive mixture is

    scrubbed with dilute aqueous caustic solutions

    that became high volume pollutants.

    Unfortunately PM appear to be a potential


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