Plastic Pollution is only getting worse

Pollution

This might not be a surprise to you, but the earth is facing a big problem with plastic pollution. While plastic pollution might not be something new, however, since it isn’t going anywhere, so we need to do something about it. In fact, plastic pollution will be here for a long time. The long term of plastic pollution is taking a toll on our environment, our climate, and it will very much affect everyone’s lives. Thus, it is important that we understand plastic pollution, and start taking some action fast. Keep on reading to learn more about the issue with plastic pollution and what we need to do to make a difference for the future.

Plastic Pollution is a Big Problem

Microplastic is a big part of plastic pollution
Plastic pollution is a big problem that affects us humans and animals and our environment. We need to take action or else it would only get worse. So what is the problem with plastic pollution you ask? The amount of plastic that we have accumulated over the years is polluting the ocean, rivers, beaches, and our land. Not only are these piles of plastic harming the environment, but it is also harming the animals and potentially us, humans. As we become so dependent on plastic, we keep making more, however, we overlook the importance of discarding plastic properly, thus, causing plastic pollution. Where plastic waste ends up in the ocean, scattering around the global and causing environmental consequences.
To be more specific, let’s look at some numbers:
According to National Geographic, “Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.”

Main Cause of Plastic Pollution

There are many contributing factors to plastic pollution, but one of the main ones is oversight and over-dependency. Humans have become so dependent on plastic, that it is kind of hard to imagine life with plastic. Look around you, most of the products you use are made with plastic. In addition, many of them are single-use disposable plastic, which means these plastics are the easiest and often the first one to end up as plastic pollution. And every day we are making more plastic, in fact, the “production increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050.”

Types of Plastic Pollution

If we break down plastic pollution, there are 2 main types of plastic pollution. The type of plastic waste is determined by their sizing, Macro or Micro. Macro plastics are ones such as plastic bottles, plastic bags and so on. These plastic can easily end up in the ocean and river and get eaten by turtles, whales, and other marine animals. While microplastics are tiny plastic particles are broken down from the macro plastic. Microplastics are just as dangerous as macro plastic, in fact, it is said that microplastic have been found on Mount Everest and in the Mariana Trenches. Microplastics are everywhere, in fact, in some countries, tap water contains tiny microplastic that are currently being consumed by humans, and many fish meat might contain microplastic too because they are spread out all over the ocean.

Why Stop Plastic Pollution

To put it simply, plastic pollution is not only going to ruin the environment, wildlife and ecology, even affect human lives significantly. But to go into detail, plastic pollution not only can be harmful to human health, it can mess up the economy. Yes, plastic pollution is costly and it will affect the economy. How? Well, imagine traveling to a country that has beautiful beaches, however, due to the world not being able to properly dispose of plastic, the beaches are now filled with plastic trash that travels by the sea current. So tourism is gone, the local economy will take a huge hit. In addition, plastic pollution is affecting the fishermen too. More and more fish are going to ingest plastic waste and microplastic, thus affecting the quality and quantity of fish. The fishing industry will also take a big blow, which means the economy will also take a hit. On top of that, these microplastics are not only eaten by animals, most likely we have some in our systems too. So we should definitely take plastic pollution much more seriously and start taking actions now.

Individually Reduce Plastic Pollution

Yes, plastic pollution is a serious issue. As I am here typing this and as you read, we both should realize the severe consequences of plastic pollution. You must be wondering if there is anything you can do to help. The answer is YES! First, stop using disposable plastic, for example, plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic utensils, disposable water bottles. These single use plastics are often the first to end up in the ocean and become plastic pollution. Instead of using these, there are many reusable and non-plastic options, such as metal straws, stainless steel water bottles, reusable food wraps, and cloth grocery bags. Everyday more and more reusable and plastic free products are being made in hopes to reduce the plastic pollution we create. In fact, there is a group of people that follow the strict regimen of plastic free lifestyle. Where they use as little plastic as they can in their day to day lifestyle. If you are interested in finding out more about plastic free lifestyle, I got the perfect article for you!

We can do it together

Plastic pollution in the ocean with fish
Plastic pollution might seem like a big challenge, however, if we take care of our individual output, show support to brands that are tackling this issue, advocate for it. Plastic pollution is something we created together, and it is definitely something we can work together to fix. We need more people to understand the seriousness of plastic pollution. Get corporations and the government on board, if dying animals don’t affect them, which is really bad, then talk money. We can do it and we need to do it together. So share with your friends and family, tell them about the seriousness of plastic pollution. Let’s do it!

Resources:
Parker, Laura. “The World’s Plastic Pollution Crisis Explained.” 07 June 2019. Web. 30 Nov. 2020.
               
Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!