We have been so consumed by this race of wealth and power that greed has taken the better of us and we have lost our humanity in the process. Again and again, have our actions produced the most disastrous of consequences. And out of all these plights, the plastic problem is one of those that have affected us the most, not through greenhouse gas emissions, not through any kind of pollution but plastic itself, in its raw form.
Each year, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic. Plastics are non-degradable, meaning that they will not be absorbed or recycled by the earth unlike other materials. Our industries manufacture plastic after adding uncountable non-eco-friendly and extremely dangerous chemicals and additives like Bisphenol A (BPA) and all this somewhat remains untold owing to the market’s personal agenda. These harmful toxins coupled with fertilizers’ runoff, acidic and radioactive waste all scour, break, smother, and otherwise damage important habitats, such as coral reefs. Many of these habitats serve as the basis of ecosystems and are critical to the survival of many other species.
This consistent barrage of plastic debris, the equivalent of 136 billion milk containers every year, assesses a review, distributed in the journal Science, acts as a sponge for toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals like Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) that reside in seawater. As contaminated plastics break down into small pieces they often resemble food, such as plankton, and are ingested by marine species, entering into the food chain. Many endangered albatross birds and chicks have been found dead with stomachs full of plastic, because of the fish they preyed on had ingested plastic. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods. Fish also sometimes take in the chemicals suspended in the water like mercury; and these ‘mercury fish’ in turn are eaten by us. Smaller plastics collect together on the surface of the ocean blocking sunlight to the autotrophs below it. Autotrophs, like seaweed, provide food to the bottom of the food chain thus once the autotrophs’ productivity collapses so does the productivity of all other larger marine organisms up the food chain. Chlorinated plastics can sweep into groundwater reserves and harm all consumers that drink that water. Also, some of the chemicals used in plastic production can cause dermatitis upon contact with human skin.
All of it is as if the global ecosystem resembles a spider web and plastic is a tremor down a string. These tremors are gradually intensifying and can topple the web anytime. It is our duty to save that web from collapsing. We must change our ways and put an end to the reign of plastic in our lives. The best thing we can do to ensure our conduits is stop the production of plastic and recycle the already manufactured stock through innovative ways. There are many suitable alternatives that can substitute for plastic and that promote saving the natural environment as well.
90% of the plastic items in our day by day lives are utilized once and after that tossed away. Replace them with reusable renditions and it’s only a matter of time when carrying our travel mug to Starbucks becomes a habit. Also every year, nearly 20 billion plastic bottles are hurled in the junk. Carrying a reusable jug in your bag can decrease the daily outflow of plastic waste greatly.
Those little plastic scrubbers found in a large number of beauty products may look innocuous, however their small size enables them to sneak past water-treatment plants. Tragically, they likewise look simply like food to some marine creatures. We should rather choose items with normal exfoliates, similar to oats or salt.
In addition to the fact that it is more beneficial, making your own suppers doesn't involve takeout containers or doggy bags. For those circumstances when you do order in or eat out, tell the foundation you need not bother with any plastic cutlery or, for some genuine additional credit, carry your own food-storage containers to restaurants for food remains.
It appears glaringly evident, yet we are not making an awesome showing with regards to it. For instance, under 14 percent of plastic packaging is reused. Look at the number on the base of the compartment if you are confounded in which bin the trash goes. Most refreshment and fluid cleaner bottles will be #1 (PET), which is ordinarily acknowledged by most curbside recycling organizations. Holders stamped #2 (HDPE; commonly marginally heavier-duty bottles for milk, juice, and clothing cleansers) and #5 (PP; plastic cutlery, yogurt and margarine tubs, ketchup containers) are likewise recyclable in a few areas.
In spite of the fact that we can have any kind of effect through our own habits, corporations and governments clearly have a significantly greater impression because the need to end or decrease plastic production still exists and for that laws have to been developed for example the Norwegian government has set up plastic waste collectors that take in the used plastic bottles and charge the people a little extra for it. It has evolved into such an impactful and prominent culture that the people believe that they are simply renting the plastic bottle for some extra money and only buying its contents, so it’s their responsibility to return it.
In addition to all of this inventors come up with new solutions every day. A floating rubbish bin amidst the oceans is a very promising method. These bins are made up of a flexible material and are designed to stay afloat and efficiently grab waste, which is primarily plastic waste. Regular emptying of those bins could help stock up waste from the oceans. After piling up plastic through other means as well, we could try to biodegrade that plastic. Although it is impossible to do so, plastic-eating caterpillars called wax-worms were discovered eating and digesting plastic and perhaps reproducing their mechanism of plastic digestion in a controlled environment could help us get rid of the accumulated plastic in an effective way.
So don't simply stare at the TV and tear-up over pictures of oil-slicked birds and waste secured shores. We can’t just burn plastic; it gives off methane which is a greenhouse gas. So get involved, learn more about contamination solutions and consider devoting your time and money to the cause. Follow people like the Indian lawyer Afroz Shah, who started cleaning up the Versova Beach all by himself; but with time people joined in. That’s how this problem will be solved, after one person starts, others will eventually follow in bravely.
Earth is our home. We cannot just stock up plastic waste until we are left with no place to settle ourselves on. The most ideal approach to battle plastic pollution is to instruct yourself on its causes and roll out little improvements at home to diminish your carbon footprint because it is the little things that matter the most and bring about the big change. It's never past the point where it is impossible to work to enhance the planet’s well-being.