Polythene : A Disaster Lesson Summary Notes and Explanation in English Class 8th


Rakesh, a student of 5th standard, visited his uncle’s house with his parents and found a heap of dirt in polythene bags stinking nearby the house. Rakesh and his parents covered their mouths with their handkerchiefs and rushed into the house. Rakesh’s uncle and his family warmly welcomed them. This chapter talks about the conversation that follows.


Rakesh– a student of class 5

Rohit– Rakesh’s cousin

Rakesh’s father

Rakesh’s uncle

Polythene- Its Origin and Uses

Rakesh asked his uncle why there was so much of stink outside the house. Rakesh’s Uncle told him it was because of the dirt in the polythene bags.

Polythene is a tough, light flexible synthetic resin made by polymerizing ethylene, mainly used for plastic bags and other packaging. It was discovered by a German scientist, Hans von Pechman, by accident.

Rakesh and his cousin Rohit wanted to know why there were so many polythene bags. Rakesh’s father answered that it was because polythene bags were cheap and easy to carry. 

In Srinagar, approximately two lakh polythene bags were used every day for everyday activities. That is why there were so many polythene bags outside. Polythene bags were non-biodegradable. We cannot even burn them as that causes immense air pollution.

The Harmful Effects of Polythene

Polythene also causes diseases like malaria, cholera and increases the infertility of soil. It blocks sewers and water pipes, causing floods. It also causes several problems for plants and animals living in and under water. It upsets ecological balance and is suspected to be a cancer-causing agent. Polythene can also cause AIDS and thrombosis.

After remaining in the soil, polythene damages the ecosystem of soil by retarding the carrying capacity. It also cuts off respiration of soil system which affects plant life and other creatures living in the soil. Polythene bags on the roads are often eaten by stray animals which can cause their death. About one billion marine animals die each year due to polythene pollution.

The governments of several countries have already banned the use of polythene. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has also made a law (Vide SRO-182, dated 18/6/2008) by which its use has been banned within the State. But it is also the responsibility of the people to completely avoid its use so that we can save ourselves and our future generations from the harmful effects of polythene. Rakesh’s father made Rakesh and Rohit promise that they would avoid using plastic bags and ask their classmates at school to do the same.


Polythene causes severe damage to the environment as well as to plant and animal life. It even leads to many diseases among human beings. Therefore, we should avoid using polythene products as much as possible and look for environment-friendly alternatives instead.