Say Yes to Life and No to Plastic
Plastic seems to have become omnipresent. It provides an easy solution to our daily needs for various purposes such as carrying, containing, storing and also used as, packets and pouches, furniture, straws, cutlery etc. We humans have made this material made of polymers an integral part of life. Modern life includes plastic and it appears to be difficult to imagine a life without plastic. But we have to! Seeing its impact on the environment. It has created havoc on the planet and not only polluting our food but killing living beings on land, deep in sea and up in the air as well.
Why is It Essential to Say No to Plastic?
Researchers as frequently as a week come up with shocking facts on plastic pollution. Plastic has not spared any creatures living in any sphere of the earth; creatures living in deep sea or flying in the high sky have been affected severely. Animals as big as a whale have been found dead by ingesting it. It is being found inside the body of birds and even humans. It is now when we humans are coming to realize how catastrophic the plastic pollution is.
Why should we say no to plastic? Here are 11 eye-opening points of plastic pollution.
- Plastic bags float on water which doesn’t let air mix in it.
- It could take 1000 years for plastic to decompose. We do know that it can break down into microscopic microplastic fragments that end up in the food supply.
- Plastic is one of the biggest causes of unnatural deaths of aquatic organisms
- Plastic bags kill around 1 lakh animals every year.
- Each year, up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean (equivalent weight of 12 million Elephants)
- By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (based on total weight and fish stocks as of 2015 levels). 88–95 percent of the plastic entering the ocean comes from just ten rivers worldwide
- These massive volumes of plastic are accumulating with conjoining ocean currents to form floating “plastic patches” The largest is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is nearly three times the size of France
- The recycling of plastic bags has been very less and only one out of 20 disposed of plastic bags get recycled.
- If a plastic bag is burnt that releases poisonous gases that kill living things and create air pollution.
- Plastic bags are non-biodegradable and pollute the soil wherever they are dumped.
- India has banned the use of plastic less than 50 microns.
The Plastic That Goes Unnoticed
Plastic, in addition to damaging the environment, is likely to kill us as well if we are not careful. Microplastics in the ocean have received a lot of attention. Microplastics can also be swallowed through dust. What does this signify in terms of our health and happiness?
Microplastic particles have recently been discovered in the placentas of new born babies. This can’t possibly be good. Plastic is a synthetic chemical component, and ingesting any chemicals into our bodies has a negative impact on our health. A build-up of microplastics in our bodies could be harmful and cause immune system reactions that are undesirable. However, further research is needed to fully comprehend the complexities of the impacts.
Main Cause of Pollution
Since their beginnings in the 1960s, plastic bags have proven to be quite beneficial. However, now is the moment to say no to plastic bags. Every minute, 2 million plastic bags are used around the world, and up to 30 million plastic bags are released into the environment each year. Wind quickly displaces plastic bags, which can travel long distances. Regrettably, they frequently find themselves in sensitive ecological areas.
A floating plastic bag in the ocean resembles a jellyfish which is considered food by many different marine species and they end up eating it. This plastic hampers their digestion of real food and kills them eventually. During the sorting process at landfills, plastic can break into many pieces and those same pieces that fly away from the site can land into the food of animals. We just mentioned a few out of many reasons why we should say no to plastic.
Various Faces of Plastic but Impact is the Same: Pollution
Plastic Straws Contribution
Why would you refuse plastic straws? One of the major polluters “floating around” is plastic straws. Their lightweight and sturdy design, similar to that of plastic bags, makes them ideal for long distance travel outdoors. In America only, 500 million plastic straws are used every day, and they are difficult to recycle. In the light, they can also become brittle, which means they can easily shatter and divide into small microplastics. Even if they don’t break down, the floating straws can pose a direct hazard to marine life as they try to eat them.
Plastic Bottles Contribution
Every day, millions of plastic bottles are used all over the world. There is a major dearth of clean drinking water, which is one of life’s necessities. There are 663 million people in the globe who do not have simple access to clean water. Every year in China, 7.38 billion bottles of water are purchased, and 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world. The Guardian (UK).
Drinking from plastic bottles is not only bad for the environment, but it’s also bad for your health. Antimony (Sb) and Bisphenol A (BPA) are two harmful compounds that can seep into the water. Microplastics were found in 11 prominent bottled water brands from around the world. 93 percent of the bottles had levels that were twice as high as tap water. While floating bottle caps pose a serious hazard to animal species as a tempting piece of possible food, they are also a substantial source of pollution.
Plastic Containers & Cutlery Contribution
“Styrofoam” is commonly used in takeaway containers. This is air-filled polystyrene (about 95 percent air). Styrofoam is one of the best fake floating materials available because of the additional air. Its small weight makes it ideal for long distance travel in the wind and on the sea. Styrofoam is not recyclable. It will continue to accumulate as trash.
Not only is Styrofoam bad for the environment, but it’s also bad for your health. Plastic cutlery breaks down into microscopic fragments (microplastics) that enter the food chain in the water when exposed to UV light. Now, when we have realised the harmfulness of plastic, what we can do to minimise the use of it if not completely stop it. Let’s discuss some possible solutions.
The 7 R’ s of Sustainability
Wait and ask yourself these questions before you make your next purchase:
Rethink- whether the product is truly necessary.
Refuse — say no to single-use plastic and non-recyclable or reusable things.
Repurpose – consider upcycling your plastic. Reduce – reduce the quantity of’ single-use’ products you buy.
Reuse – consider reusing the plastic.
Recycle – learn how to properly recycle plastic.
Remove – if you notice any rubbish in the environment, clean it up. Every little bit helps!
Saying No to Plastic in Your Kitchen
Plastic is often used in the kitchen, particularly for food storage. It begins for many of us even before the food reaches your home. Vegetables, grains, pasta, snacks, and other foods are frequently packaged in plastic. However, there can be some simple ways which can make your kitchen plastic free. When it comes to storing food, silicon bags can be a good alternative. They are reusable and can be frozen, microwaved. Interestingly, they do not absorb the smell or taste of any food. Along with it, beeswax wraps and glass containers can be good alternatives of plastic
Say No to Plastic Lines:
- Plastic has become a major environmental concern for humanity.
- Nearly 74 countries have declared a ban on the use of plastic bags, while 34 states have imposed a per-pack levy.
- In India, the Prime Minister has asked for a statewide ban on single-use plastics, including plastic bottles, cups, and bags.
- Despite India’s prohibition on plastics smaller than 50 microns, a major portion of our ecosystem remains vulnerable.
- To prevent littering, the government should take stringent steps and allocate a plastic bag disposal system in urban and rural regions.
- People should make alternatives to plastic bags, such as paper or canvas bags, cans, paper boxes, and so on.
- Every year, about 100,000 marine animals and birds are killed by plastic bags alone.
- Hundreds of thousands of turtles and whales have perished or been poisoned after mistakenly devouring plastic bags for jellyfish.
- Individuals must take responsibility for not using plastic bags or anything else that shouts “Plastic.”
- It is in the power of individuals to say “no” to plastic bags in order to maintain our ecosystem and biodiversity.
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