Plastic Pollution: A Threat That Must Be Stopped
As technology advances almost every month and the world’s population grow rapidly each passing year, the demand for plastic also increases in the market. Plastics do not decompose quickly and makes up a great portion of our garbage annually. Usually takes up to a thousand years to decompose in landfills or places where we throw them. This amount of plastic garbage we negligibly throw away results in the ever-increasing pollution around the world.
When garbage piles up in one area and starts to affect the surrounding environment negatively, plastic pollution is the result. As we all know, plastic is composed of toxic pollutants such as polyvinyl chloride, phthalates, and bisphenols. Which are toxic oily substances that can leech into the ground or bodies of water. Endangering all life forms around it. Plastics are undoubtedly beneficial to us. But just like any other things, abuse of its use, especially the indiscriminate disposal of it. Will produce dire consequences in the future.
Causes of Plastic Pollution
Overuse, misuse, and improper disposal of plastic products are the main cause of plastic pollution around the world. Since plastic is easy to come by, cheap and is used on pretty much anything we use every day. Most people tend to take it for granted and haphazardly throws it away if we are done using it. Since plastics have been made to last, they do not rot easily. Plastics usually gets buried deep in the ground after a very long time and may contaminate underground freshwater supply.
Also, improper disposal of garbage like burning plastic as a mean of getting rid of them contributes to the ever-worsening pollution issues that we face today. Even using plastic fishing nets carelessly can also produce pollution. Plastics have a widespread application that things we thought is biodegradable. And contains traces of plastics which, although small in quantities, may even be dangerous to the environment.
Effects of Plastic Pollution
The main victim of plastic pollution is, of course, us. Our planet’s ecosystem, in a sense, that not just on the land, but also in our ocean and any bodies of water contaminated by it. As mentioned earlier, plastic does not just contaminate underground freshwater supplies but also turns the land poor and devoid of nutrients needed to support life. Animals, both in the land and the sea, often mistakes plastic pieces for food and if ingested, can cause poisoning or blocks their digestive system, which can cause starvation and even death.
Plastic produces toxic fumes that greatly impacts a person’s health if incinerated. Often leads to upsetting the thyroid hormones and the endocrine system. Which can be very harmful to pregnant women, young children, old people and people with a weak respiratory system. Also, these fumes are harmful to other animals as well, and also greatly contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer. Consuming and using water which is contaminated with chemicals from plastic like lead, cadmium, and mercury can also make us ill, and may often become fatal, resulting in death.
Reducing Plastic Pollution
There are a lot of ways that we can do to lessen, and eliminate plastic pollution. Here are the most common ones that most of us can do even in our homes.
- Minimizing the use of disposable plastic and using reusable ones or other alternatives such as the Eco-friendly ones available in most supermarkets.
- Recycling plastics to avoid manufacturing even more plastics products (also is a much cheaper alternative than making new ones).
- Proper disposal of plastic garbage by segregating your trash into 2 main parts; biodegradable and biodegradable.
- Support movements like cleanup projects, waste segregation and mass recycling organized by either non-government and government agencies.
- Buying products that are not using plastic as containers, like buying soap in cardboard boxes instead of plastic packaging or product which uses Eco-friendly and biodegradable material for their packaging.
- Lastly, be responsible for your own trash by placing them in proper waste collection containers and not mindlessly throwing them away anywhere.
By following these tips, we can reduce plastic pollution by not totally changing our lifestyle. Just a few things to do here and there is not much of a big deal, right? Especially if the reason we are doing this is also for the greater good.
Knowing the cause and effect of plastic pollution will give us a clear perspective of how we can gradually fix it and prevent it from happening again. We know that plastic is one of the greatest innovations man have ever made, and is very important to our day to day lives, but we can still have a normal life while minimizing its use, why preserving our environment and our health.