Essay On Plastic Pollution – 1200 Words Essay
Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. It is a serious threat because unlike other types of pollution it does not go away on its own but persists and remains in natural environments.
Plastics persist for long periods and can be transported to other parts of the world by air currents, ocean currents and on winds. They pose a threat to marine life even if they are disposed of responsibly because they can take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose and become biodegradable. For example, researchers once found an attractive plastic container floating off California’s coast which had originated from Japan some 8,000 miles (12 800 km) away.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific trash vortex is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. The high concentration of plastic debris floating at the center of the patch has been theorized to impact on the distribution and migration patterns of some marine species.
Plastic does not biodegrade but breaks down into smaller and smaller fragments called microplastics, which persist in oceans, lakes and rivers for decades. Microplastics have been found inside fish, birds and other animals. Several governments have taken steps to reduce plastic bag usage, particularly by imposing taxes or bans on their use; one such ban has been upheld by Kenya’s highest court as constitutional. In response to the threat of microplastics, several countries, including Sweden, Norway, France and Malta have introduced bans on microplastics.
A number of environmental organizations are working to reduce plastic pollution and advocate the use of reusable materials such as cotton bags and shipping containers.
Plastic pollution is caused by many sources including landfills, wastewater treatment plants, cities and industrial processes. Firstly, plastic waste is accumulated in landfills and where it has a melting point of 565°C or higher. Currently, much of the waste is incinerated at hard-to-control temperatures, which releases toxic emissions into the air. Plastic can also leach chemicals into waterways (including seawater), and in these ecosystems, plastic does not biodegrade – it photodegrades, breaking down into smaller pieces known as microplastics. Microplastics can become part of the food chain, entering humans through eating fish or through eating plastic debris that comprises some food packaging (e.g., wrappers). Evidence shows microplastics are in the human food chain and 97% of all marine debris enters the ocean through rivers. Different types of plastic are used for different purposes (e.g., balloons, clothing, etc.) and act as a contamination source when used in these unrelated areas. Plastic contamination is increasing annually as it is made from oil and then shipped to the land for use by humans. An estimated 10 million tons (9.3 million metric tons) of plastic has been produced since 1947, with that number expected to double by 2022.
Around half of the plastics produced in the last fifteen years. The use of plastic has gotten out of control and is having an effect on global warming, the environment and human health. Plastic bags are one example of a large amount of waste that pollutes our oceans, people are using them to carry their groceries from the car into the store.
Plastic pollution can also be caused by human activity at sea such as the disposal of fishing nets and wastewater treatment plant leaks. Other sources of ocean plastic pollution include the runoff of plastics from urban areas, atmospheric fallout and airborne transportation of plastic debris.
The amount of plastic thrown away worldwide every year is growing by around 2% each year according to The Worldwatch Institute. Its report predicts that by 2050, 9 billion tonnes of plastic waste will be in our oceans causing serious damage to marine life and other threats. Plastic waste poses a serious threat to seabirds and marine species that ingest these toxic pieces. That’s why researchers are concerned that plastic pollution could have far-reaching consequences on human health as well.
Millions of animals are killed by plastic pollution every year, and it is becoming an increasingly serious problem for the health of the planet. Plastic pollution has devastating impacts on animals in the oceans, lakes and rivers. Seabirds, seals and other marine life are dying because of their mistake to eat plastic pieces. Marine life often mistakes plastic items for food and end up consuming toxic material.
Many different kinds of animals are affected by plastic in beaches due to floods of trash, But not all animals can be saved. Some home communities collect plastics at a higher rate than others do so the amount of plastic affects how many animals are killed or harmed by it.
The plastics are unethically manufactured with synthetic chemicals which emit toxic fumes as they decompose in landfills. They also have a huge carbon footprint; over 100 million tonnes of CO2 are released each year from making plastic alone and transporting it around the world from its manufacturing source to its disposal site.
Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution:
1. Reduce plastic usage and waste.
2. Collect plastic items for recycling in your home community.
3. Use reusable bags to carry grocery groceries when shopping and at the beach, instead of using plastic bags.
4. Stop using single-use disposable items such as straws, yogurt cups, Styrofoam plates, cups and utensils at restaurants, hotels, and other institutions where you eat out.
5. Do not drink out of a paper or plastic cup instead use a glass bottle that can be reused over time.
6. Invest in a composting bin for food scraps.
7. Avoid using plastic containers for food storage such as plastic bags, plastic boxes, and Tupperware containers.
8. Avoid using thin-film flexible material such as cling wrap and plastic bags that has been manufactured with BPA, that contains a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) when stored in plastic containers or bags, or heated up at home in the microwave oven for use with dishes, utensils or eating directly from the bag/container & utensils/cloth napkins that contain BPA.
9. Avoid using a plastic container to heat up your food or liquids from the microwave oven.
10.Avoid buying cosmetics & personal care products containing harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, triclosan, formaldehyde and phenoxyethanol.
11. Avoid purchasing disposable plastic bottles for the water you drink.
12. Buy reusable water bottles to store clean drinking water.
13. Buy water filters and pitchers for your home so that you can have clean drinking water.
14. Buy aluminum cans when possible so that they can be recycled.
15. Avoid buying anything made of toxic materials to help the environment as much as possible like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or polystyrene (Styrofoam).
16. Buy only BPA-free products in order to avoid the dangers of BPA.
17. Use cloth shopping bags as opposed to plastic bags when you shop.
18. Buy wood furniture instead of plastic furniture since they are much better for the environment than garbage-producing materials like plastic.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that we can reduce our impact on the environment without harming ourselves either physically or emotionally. We live in a very busy world, but we do not need to be like the machine in the film Wall-e. Let’s take a deep breath and live more consciously so that we can enjoy life more fully and make a difference for the better in this world.