By Alan Jambulatov
Years of careless use of the planet’s resources, spending without care, has led to an environmental crisis and a dangerously polluted world left for new generations to clean up. Rising movements against plastic waste have swept through social media, yet we continuously produce tons of debris. Plastic use as a second nature makes it difficult to drop ancient habits and clean up the place we call our home. To preserve this planet, we must cut down on plastic waste and find ways to leave a smaller ecological footprint .
Plastic waste brings a heavy environmental toll. These products often end up in the ocean, and when in water, this garbage can take thousands of years to decompose (Knoblauch). Consequently, this devastating detritus can float and pollute the ocean for over a millennium without any means of easy extraction. Moreover, plastic often contains and exposes dangerous chemicals, and unsuspecting sea creatures such as sea turtles, sea lions, and fish, sometimes eat it, in some instances killing them (Henn). Not only does plastic damage the marine environment, but plastic can often carry invasive species around the globe, wreaking havoc on habitats (Knoblauch). Unless we start to effectively cut down on our waste and dispose of plastic responsibly, the damaging effect could become permanent on the marine ecosystem.
Not only does plastic harm sea creatures and the environment, but it also dangerously affects humans. Many plastic containers contain traces of bisphenol A, which, in some instances, seep into food. “Exposure to BPA [bisphenol A] is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA [bisphenol A] on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children,” (Bauer) and potentially increasing blood pressure. Additionally, research reveals that plastic buried in landfills can bleed dangerous chemicals into the soil, potentially contaminating groundwater (Knoblauch). Thus, due to our incautious and excessive use of plastic products, we damage our ecosystems and ourselves.
Recycling facilities combined with efforts to limit plastic use, present effective solutions, but still lack in greatly reducing our negative environmental impact. As some would argue when consuming plastic products, negative effects will not harm the environment as long as one recycles. However, as indicated by OccupyTheory the process of recycling plastic still damages the environment and depletes the world’s limited amount of natural resources. Using fuel to power machines, and with the current treatment of plastic toxic fumes escape the depots, consequently making the earth suffer. Furthermore, in many cases, the recycling facilities produce a hazardous environment, filled with diseases and dangers for the workers (OccupyTheory). We should, however, continue our efforts to recycle but also cut back on plastic waste as the ultimate solution.
Plastic consumption around the world soars, leaving a heavy imprint on our environment. Draining mother nature’s natural resources and polluting her land places all creatures and mankind in peril. Even our solutions need improvement, and in the end, we should strive towards a life without wasted plastic. We need to reduce our consumption of one-time use merchandise and work towards cleaning our earth. Conscientious efforts to care for our earth will allow future generations to live in an ecologically sound home.
Bauer, Brent A. “Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Mar. 2016, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/bpa/faq-20058331.
Henn, Corrine. “These 5 Marine Animals Are Dying Because of Our Plastic Trash … Here’s How We Can Help.” One Green Planet, 5 Feb. 2017, www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/marine-animals-are-dying-because-of-our-plastic-trash/.
Knoblauch, Jessica A. “The Environmental Toll of Plastics.” Environmental Health News, Environmental Health News, 20 Dec. 2017, www.ehn.org/plastic-environmental-impact-2501923191.html.
“Recycling Pros and Cons List.” OccupyTheory, OCCUPYTHEORY, 26 Feb. 2015, https://occupytheory.org/recycling-pros-and-cons-list/