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PLASTIC PRODUCTS NEGATIVELY AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT. WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS?
People are suffering from the burning issue of plastic pollution which has played a significant role in global problems, mainly as a result of increasing usage of plastic products. Plastic is made from toxic material such as benzene and these chemicals are known to cause health problems such as cancer and the like. The aim of this essay is to show how plastic products have affected the environment and what the solution for plastic pollution is.
Plastic products are a global killer. Firstly, they have affected the land. There are lots of negative effects happen with the environment because of plastic products. Plastic is made from toxic chemicals such as vinyl hydrochloride, benzene, phthalates and it causes cancer and health problems. They add phthalates to make plastic soft and more pliable. It is known to affect fertility, cause birth defects, cancer and asthma (Anderson et. al, 2017). Globally people use 160,000 plastic bags every second (The world counts, 2014) but they did not know plastic is non-biodegradable. A plastic bag takes up to 1000 years to degrade in the land (Engler, 2016). This means that all the plastic that has ever been produced has not degraded yet. People use plastic products such as plastic bags, plastic bottles, care products which are packed in plastic containers which are used only once and thrown away. 200,000 tonnes of rubbish sent to landfills a year in just Auckland (Nichol, 2018). This plastic when thrown in landfills or elsewhere, finds its way into oceans. For example, Delhi garbage pile has almost reached 60 meters and it was compared as Qu tub Minar’s height (Sharma, 2018).
Secondly, plastic products also affect marine life in the oceans. When people throw plastic waste in landfills, it is carried into the ocean by rivers, drainage lines or by rain. According to Otago Daily Times “scientists who free analysis on estimating that a staggering eight million metric tonnes of plastic pollution enter the oceans every year from the worlds 192 coastal countries supported 2010 data” (Otago Daily Times Para.2, 2015). This means that just guess any plastic product and it is probably somewhere in the marine environment (Law, n.d.) as cited in Otago Daily Times (2015). When the plastic from landfills and from shipping lines carrying plastic components gets into the ocean, animals and birds mistake it for food and ingest it and die from it. For example, scientists have found 40kg of plastic waste in a dead whale’s stomach in the Philippines (Dalton, 2019).
Therefore, what are the solutions? The best way to address plastic pollution is to change mind-sets and habits. People should reuse plastic products in daily routine life which can help to diminish plastic pollution because as reported by food and water watch cited in Moss (2015) water bottles produce 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, and these bottles require 47 million gallons of oil to produce. The way to reduce plastic bottles pollution is to use stainless water bottles for water and reuse them. Another way to decrease plastic pollution is not to use plastic bags even polyester or nylon bags because they are also made from plastic, so use cotton bags instead of them. Do not use disposable diapers but use cloth diapers. According to the EAP cited in Moss (2015) 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the U.S. each year and it takes 80,000 pounds of plastic and more than 200,000 trees a year to manufacture. Buy in bulk instead of a single milk carton. The Journal Science claims that 136 billion milk jugs are used each year (Engler, 2016).
Another crucial solution is education in order to increase awareness and behaviour change (Solar impulse foundation, n.d.). Moreover, use matches instead of lighters because they are made from cheap plastic and sit in landfills for years and have even been found in dead birds’ stomachs. Furthermore, buy something in boxes rather than plastic bottles or containers like fruit, soap, and detergent. Plastic bags can take up to 800 years to degrade so bring reusable bags to the market, mall, grocery store and use cotton bags for this. Skip chewing gum because it is made from toxic plastics and it causes cancer in lab rats (Moss, 2015,)
In conclusion, though plastic is extremely useful, it is a heavy threat to our surroundings. So, we should always attempt to cut back, use and recycle plastic and thus the amount of atmospheric pollution caused by plastics. In my opinion, we need to change some habits in our daily routine life and this can help to reduce plastic pollution.
- Benjamin, S., Masai, E., Kamimura, N., Takahashi, K., Anderson, R.C., & Faisal, P. A. (2017, October 15). Phthalates impact human Health: Epidemiological evidences and plausible mechanism of Action. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28800814
- Jane Dalton @JournoJane. (2019, March 18). Whale starved to death with record heap of plastic in stomach. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/whale-plastic-waste-stomach-Philippines-dead-starved-a8828626.html
- Moss, L. (2015, July 29). 16 simple ways to reduce plastic waste. Mother Nature Network. Retrieved from https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/16-simple-ways-reduce-plastic-waste
- Natural Resources Defence Council, Engler, s. (2016). 10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/10-ways-reduce-plastic-pollution
- Nichol, T. (2018, January 03). 200,000 tonnes of rubbish sent to Landfill a year – and that’s just Auckland. Retrieved from https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11957595
- (N.A) “Oceans awash with plastic trash.” (2015, February 14). Otago Daily Times. Retrieved from https://www.odt.co.nz/news/world/oceans-awash-plastic-trash
- (N.A) “What is plastic pollution.” Solar impulse Foundation, Retrieved from https://solarimpulse.com/plastic-pollution-solutions
- Sharma, V. (2018, August 31). Towering trash: Delhi garbage pile Set to match Qu tub Minar’s height. Retrieved from https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/raise-a-stink-delhi-s- garbage-mountain-grows-taller year-after-deadly-cave-in/story-NYr98Q6X8XXUcbnE5Uh1rO.html
- The world counts, (2014, May 03). Retrieved from Pollution from Plastic http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Pollution-from-Plastic
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