In a world dominated by technology, it’s hard to fandom why our environment has fallen behind the times. With the introduction of smart houses, and the move to popularize self-driving cars, there is no question that the world is beginning to look more and more like an episode out of Futurama. The idea behind technology is that it makes not only our work life easier but personal lives as well, affording us the opportunity to spend more time enjoying family, friends and traveling to new destinations.
But with these advances comes the strain of earth’s carrying capacity to sustain our growing society. Bearing the question, have you ever stopped to consider how much the environment does for us? Such as supplying the essential resources needed for our survival, from green plants for oxygen to breathe, rich soil for agriculture and wetlands to filter clean drinking water. Therefore, the environment is regarded as the “human lifetime” because without the environment, people could not function accordingly. Bet you didn’t think having a green thumb mattered in 2019! But the truth is, there is no Planet B. So, with the increase in global warming, climate change and pollution, the earth has become bruised by human activity.
One main culprit in earth’s environmental crisis is plastic pollution. It remains the most imperative because it not only affects humans but wildlife as well. The production of plastic by factories releases many toxic substances, including Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC. It is considered the most toxic substance to our environment as it contains chemical additives such as dioxins and phthalates that can evaporate into the air leading to chronic health conditions like cancer.
Apart from humans, marine animals such as the Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific logger head sea turtles are greatly affected by plastic pollution, because they are among a list of species that have been termed as endangered due to the consumption and entanglement of plastic litter. Trash like six-packs rings and bags can clog their stomachs leading to poisoning and suffocation.
Plastic pollution also affects our water supply, as the plastic toxins found in our landfills can seep into the ground and run-off into main water sources such as rivers and streams, tarnishing our drinking supply.
Plastic pollution is also a contributor to air pollution, another culprit in earth’s environmental crisis. When plastic is burnt, it releases many toxic chemicals that can pollute the atmosphere, which not only damages green plants but can also lead to the development of respiratory aliments such as asthma and lung cancer as well.
In-addition to its harmful effects, the disposal pf plastic and its products including bottles and bags remains difficult to solve due to their non-biodegradable structure, which cannot be broken down naturally, causing an accumulation of waste material as it takes a few hundred years for plastic to completely decompose.
However, there are still steps that our community can take to reduce the effects of plastic pollution. Drinking from re-usable water bottles instead of single use plastic bottles, avoiding the use of plastic drinking stars and replacing them with reusable glass or stainless steel straws and using environmentally friendly bags when going shopping instead of single-use plastic bags.
Plastic waste can be reduced through the concise decision made through changes in our lifestyle or the recycling of plastic products lowering the risk of environmental impact creating a healthier and happier life.