Life in Plastic is Not Fantastic Our world is consumed by plastic and its products
Life in Plastic is Not Fantastic
Our world is consumed by plastic and its products. The US uses enough plastic water bottles yearly to wrap around Earth 190 times (prezi.com). Almost everything we own and use, or even eat has some sort of plastic in it; these plastics do more harm than good. Many people agree that we should ban plastic and find an alternative solution, in order to help save ourselves and our planet.
Producing plastic has created a depression within our resources. The Pacific Institute estimates that in 2006 producing the bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation. Most of this water was sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, this amount was almost 900,000 tons of the plastic. PET is produced from fossil fuels, typically natural gas and petroleum. This uses resources that take millions of years to attain. It also takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water. This is a large amount of resources used to make such as small bottle that is typically used once then thrown away or recycled.
A study by the American Chemistry Council showed that as of 2015, approximately 6,300 million metric tons of plastic waste had been generated. Of that amount, an estimation displays that only 9 percent has been recycled, 12 percent was incinerated and 79 percent was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment. If current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 million metric tons of plastic will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050. Many individuals believe that if we do not make a change soon, we will not be able to recover from the drastic amount of waste we have produced on our planet.
Plastic comes with a high cost on our environment; the amount of pollution is overwhelming. Plastic is so durable that the EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” Plastic never decomposes; however, it will break down into smaller pieces called “microplastic”. Microplastic is evident in all things. It causes problems in our ecosystems, wildlife, marine life, and our lives.
Plastic pollution on land is damaging our ecosystem and our wildlife. Out of the 33.6 million tons of plastic that Americans discard each year, 85.7% ends up in landfills. When landfills overflow the chemicals, such as Bisphenol A, Phthalates, and Brominated Flame Retardants go into our water systems and get consumed by our wildlife (blog.nus.edu). These chemicals cause many health issues for us and animals. It should be changed into a safer option or used not at all.
Plastic and microplastic is killing our ocean and marine life. “The world’s oceans are turning into a ‘toxic soup’ of industrial waste and plastic, putting the future of humanity at risk”, Sir David Attenborough has warned. Nearly 700 species eat or get caught in plastic litter. Sea turtles often mistake floating plastic for food. They can choke, or starve by believing they’re full from the plastic. Unfortunately, research indicates that half of sea turtles worldwide have consumed plastic. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds swallow plastic every year. Plastic consumption shrinks the amount of space in the stomach, causing starvation. It’s estimated that 60 percent of all seabird species have eaten pieces of plastic, and is foreseen to increase to 99 percent by 2050. The more plastic we produce the more our marine life suffers. Fish ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, which can cause intestinal injury and even death. This also transfers plastic through the food chain to other marine life and humans that consume seafoods. A study found that 1/4 of fish at markets in California contained plastic in their guts, mostly in the form of plastic microfibers and other microplastics (biologicaldiversity.org). Plastic is causing our beautiful sea life to suffer. It is a mess that we have created and cannot escape the predicaments of it.
Although we cannot see or taste it, we digest small quantities of microplastics. Through the containers we use and the meat we eat, we digest microplastics and different chemicals. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical present in almost all plastic products. Not only is it in our products, the animals that consume plastic waste contain these microplastics and chemicals. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which has caused reproductive issues and human development (Alternet.org). Things we digest should not cause these sorts of problems. Plastic should be forbidden from being produced and used.
Banning plastic would save our resources and able those resources to go towards more beneficial usages.
Without plastic harming our environment, the world would be an improved habitation.
Our health would benefit from the prohibition of plastic.
Plastic may be a profitable item for companies to produce and a rather inexpensive item for consumers to purchase. Nonetheless, the price it is costing the world could be renewed. The government could grant farmers a subsidy, in order to produce another possibility in place of plastic, that would benefit us and the planet. A subsidy is a cash loan or grant given by the government to a business, which the government encourages, to help that business produce more materials. If a farmer were to grow large amounts of bamboo, the bamboo be used as containers, silverwares, and other everyday appliances as an alternate to harsh plastics. Not only that, the growing of bamboo would recycle the air and leave a much more appealing view. Many people agree this is a much better option for everyone.
Some people say plastic is a convenient item that they use every day in their lives and don’t want to give up. Although plastic is convenient, there are other sustainable and decomposable options we could use in place of plastic. As mentioned before bamboo is a prime solution. Any plant-based product, would decompose after usage. This would be beneficial to the environment. Another approach would be sustainable items such as stainless steel, glass, and wood. These items could be reused and not cause harms to our environment (lifewithoutplastic.com).
There are many reasons why we should ban plastic production and start a worldwide clean up. Plastic is inescapable and is only getting worse. It never goes away. It causes many harms to our population, ecosystem, land, ocean, marine life. Plastic and its effects affect everyone. There are various substitute resolutions and habits to improve the planet. We need to stop production now before we bury ourselves so deep in plastic waste, that there is no recuperating. If we start now, we can make our lives fantastic!
“Ocean Plastics Pollution.”, www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/.
“Bottled Water and Energy Fact Sheet.” Pacific Institute, pacinst.org/publication/bottled-water-and-energy-a-fact-sheet/.
“Plastic World, Plastic Nightmare.” Powered by Blog.nus, blog.nus.edu.sg/plasticworld/2016/09/14/impacts-of-plastic-pollution-on-land-environment/.
Knapton, Sarah. “Sir David Attenborough: The World’s Oceans Are Becoming a ‘Toxic Soup’ of Industrial Waste and Plastic.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 5 Dec. 2017, www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/12/05/sir-david-attenborough-worlds-oceans-becoming-toxic-soup-industrial/.
S., Ashley. “The US Consumes Enough Water Bottles Each Year to Wrap Aroun.” Prezi.com, 14 Nov. 2013, prezi.com/qtwubxd5zymi/the-us-consumes-enough-water-bottles-each-year-to-wrap-aroun/#.
Schwartz, Larry. “Toxic Traps: When These 7 Types of Plastic Are Dangerous.” Alternet, www.alternet.org/personal-health/toxic-traps-when-these-7-types-plastic-are-dangerous.
Staff, Recycling Today. “Study Examines Production, Use and Disposal of Plastics.” Recycling Today, Recycling Today, 24 July 2017, www.recyclingtoday.com/article/plastics-production-use-disposal-study/.
“Life Without Plastic Logo.” Common Plastics No 1 to No 7 – Description, Toxicity, Recyclability, Alternatives, www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/ca/.