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The Effects of Plastics on the Environment

Plastic pollution has an adverse effect on wildlife, wildlife habitats and humans / Photo by Pixabay

 

People have been using plastics for a very long time. They think that it is easier to use and they think that it is cheaper than using biodegradable materials for their everyday use. However, despite the convenience that it brings to most people, it also poses a dangerous future which will turn into a nightmare if the authorities will not start to implement better regulations on plastic usage.

As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the amount of garbage that people produce. The current lifestyle of today’s generation usually requires instantly and easily disposable products, such as plastic bottles and plastic bags. The patronization of these products has made a way in increasing the number of accumulated plastic materials which pollutes the resources of the world.

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects in the Earth’s environment that has an adverse effect on wildlife, wildlife habitat, and humans. These plastics act as pollutants that are specified based on their size. The chemical structure of most plastics renders them to be resistant in the natural process of degradation and makes them degrade slower.

Dies Slowly

Since its mass production began in the 1940s, plastic’s wide range of unique properties has propelled it to an essential status in society. More than 300 million tons will be produced worldwide in the upcoming years. Plastics are very long-lived products that could potentially have service over decades, but the chemical building blocks that create plastics are the same components that could also harm the people and the environment.

The disposable plastic products that people use every day are anything but disposable in environmental terms. According to a webpost by Earth Eclipse, plastics could outlive the humans that used them since it could take up to more than 2000 years before they completely decay.

Plastics themselves contribute to approximately 10% of discarded waste. Many kinds of plastics exist depending on their precursors and the method for their polymerization. Depending on their chemical consumption, plastics and resins have varying properties that are connected to contaminant absorption and adsorption. Plastic Pollution Coalition also stressed out that 33% of the plastics that people consumed are only used for a single time, which will add to the mountainous amount of plastics that are piled up in toxic landfills.

Earth Killer

Some plastics are toxic and they can disrupt hormones crucial for a healthy human existence. Even when it is not dangerous itself, plastic acts like a magnet for a range of other poisons and pollutants that humans have spilled on the natural world. Plastic pollution has the potential to poison animals, which can then adversely affect human food supplies.

Marine animals are the usual victims of plastics that people consume and dumped. Sea turtles, for example, have been found to contain a large number of plastics in their stomach. Killing off sea creatures is bad for humans because people consume it. Starvation among marine creatures is the result of plastic ingestion according to an article by Forbes. The natural elements will eventually make the plastics to become ingestible to animals and they won’t be able to consume it.

Chlorinated plastic can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil, which can then seep into groundwater or other surrounding water sources and also, the ecosystem of the world. Water conservation is already a concern in most places in the world because of leaking plastics and waste.

Most plastic is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, which release toxic emissions when extracted from the earth. Oil and gas drilling releases a slew of toxic air contaminants, which includes benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide. The methane gas can also leak and cause greater greenhouse effects than carbon dioxide.

The Fight Against Plastics

Many non-government and government organizations have been taking actions in order to reduce the consumption of plastics and to raise awareness of the dangers that might happen if people continued to consume a large number of plastics. Concerned actions are being taken to reverse that trend.

More than 50 nations from the Galapagos Islands to India and from Rwanda to China are taking action to reduce plastic pollution. Part of the measures in the strategies includes reducing plastic bag usage, as well as investments in the technology and material spaces.

Not all plastics are recyclable, but some items like beverage bottles and plant pots could be recycled into new items. Take littering and illegal dumping seriously by teaching families and communities by starting a clean-up drive. Proper information about the proper recycling process could have a huge impact on the number of plastic waste in a community. Meanwhile, parents could also teach the responsibility of using a reusable water bottle at home and even outside their house.

Pollution from plastics is a threat to the environment. People should learn to stand up and fight against the looming threat brought by plastics and other toxic waste materials.

 

Proper recycling can have a huge impact on the plastic wage in a community / Photo by Getty Images

 

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