Are you aware of the impacts of plastic on our environment? Read on to know about the creation and recycling of plastic.
Today, you can hardly look around you and not spot some item that is made entirely from plastic or has some plastic ingredient. Nowadays, you will find people carrying their shopping items in plastic bags in almost every market that you visit.
This only proves that plastic has managed to become the popular building material of millions of useful items from its inception up to now, but it is not perfect. All on earth can felt the impacts of plastic. The creation and recycling of plastic have always been a debatable topic.
From food items to clothes to shoes, there is hardly any item that we do not use a plastic bag to carry.
However, before stuffing your home with different styles, colors, and shapes of plastic bags, have you ever considered the dangers inherent in using them?
Plastic has several disadvantages that prevent it from becoming a universal building block of modern human civilization. Thus, many governments strictly control its use and create complex law that governs its creation, recycling, and environmental impact of waste plastic and chemicals used in its creation.
Ever-increasing plastic production since the 1950s managed to saturate the world with a waste of plastic products that can have big effects on our environment.
Decomposing of the plastic product can last from 400 to 1000 years with newer “degradable” compounds. Before that degradation can happen, waste plastic will continue to clog our waterways, oceans, forests, and other natural habitats filled with animals who mistake dangerous plastic for food.
Chemical dangers are also high because of both the creation and recycling of plastic produce toxic materials of many kinds.
Environmental Impacts of Plastic That Will Shock You
Here are some of the biggest impacts plastic has on our environment:
Plastic is light, moldable, sturdy, and can have countless forms, but its durability is one of the most known features. Plastic is an artificially created polymer compound that can survive many centuries before nature can degrade it (some degrade into basic ingredients, and some only divide into tiny pieces).
This troublesome ability of plastic doesn’t have a great immediate impact on our environment. Still, the continuous dumping of plastics into seas and land will eventually create problems for future generations. Even with all this durability, plastic products are not indestructible, and it cannot be used as a basic building block for everything we need.
2) Chemical Risk
The creation and recycling of plastic can cause serious environmental risk, but some of the additives that are infused in plastic can cause permanent harm to our metabolism. Chemicals such as phthalates and BPA are widely used as an additive that prevents degrading of plastic structure.
But, they also interfere with our natural hormone levels. The impacts of plastic can cause serious problems for both males and females (lower testosterone levels in men and premature girls puberty).
3) Threat To Animal Life
As per the Marrickville Council of Australia, as many as 100,000 whales, turtles, and birds have been reported to die every year, mainly because of plastic in their environment.
Reports say, by 2050, World Oceans Will Hold More Plastic Than Fish.
Plastic bags not only have adverse effects on our natural habitats but have also been found to be responsible for the death of many animals, mainly on account of the suffocation encountered on eating them.
4) Choking Hazard
Plastic is one of the most popular building materials for small items. This is most evident in the toy industry, where a vast majority of children’s toys are manufactured with plastic. These toys containing small plastic objects often get in contact with children’s mouth easily.
Governments have implemented a detailed set of rules that force manufacturers to clearly label their plastic products and warn users of the possible choking potential to prevent these serious accidents. Also, plastic bags (grocery or trash bags) can sometimes end up wrapped around children’s faces, disrupting their breathing.
Plastic bags are extremely durable. In case you are thinking of this as an advantage, recall the huge landfill that you visited on the city outskirts the other day.
Most probably, the majority of the rubbish present there will comprise of plastic bags. In other words, plastic bags have led to a great increase in pollution levels.
Besides, plastic is also responsible for various suffocation related deaths. Along with animals, even infants and young children have also been reported to have lost their lives. Since plastic bags are thin and airtight, children often end up blocking their mouths and nostrils with them. In case they are not being monitored by an adult, this leads to suffocation and, in some cases, even death.
7) Environmental Damage
Plastic bags have been known to cause a lot of environmental damage. A single plastic bag can take up to around 400 to 1000 years to decay completely.
This makes the bags stay in environments longer, leading to great build-up on the natural landscape (much more than degradable materials like paper). In short, the more plastic bags you use, the greater the chances of environmental damage.
Since plastic bags are not bio-degradable, the only way to get rid of them is to burn them up. Though lighting a match to them is easy, it has more than its fair share of disadvantages.
The biggest of them is that smoldering plastics can release toxic fumes into the environment, raising air pollution to much higher levels.
One of the main impacts of plastic bags is that they are not renewable. The reason behind this is that they are made of petrochemicals, a non-renewable source of energy. They can be recycled, but not as easily as paper bags.
Perhaps, long after you are no more, the plastic bag used by you will be in existence.
We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce. Some people are finding ways to stop, reduce, or replace plastic bags with something that can be recycled, and fingers crossed hope they are successful someday. But till then, it is each person’s responsibility to minimize the use of plastic bags.
Instead of waiting for the government or some international agency to do something, we can all start taking small steps and help diffuse this atom bomb and save your earth.
Steps to Stop the Harmful Effects of Plastic
- Stop using plastics for any daily purpose like shopping bags, instead start using paper bags.
- Start buying your groceries in boxes/jars rather than the one in plastic bottles. In doing so, the producers will eventually stop manufacturing goods in the plastic package.
- Reuse existing plastic bottles for various house decorations and come up with DIYs.
- Carry your bag when you go shopping. Don’t request a new bag every single time.
Here are some of the best possible solutions to the plastic problem, check it out!
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