Plastic is everywhere.
From packaging to clothing, from toys to electronics, plastic has become an integral part of our lives.
Unfortunately plastic has a very dark side. It is one of the most persistent and pervasive sources of pollution on Earth, and it poses serious threats to our environment and our health.
In this blog post, we will explore three harmful effects of plastic and what we can do to reduce them.
I'm sure you've heard of the term Plastic Pollution. We use it all the time. But what actually is Plastic Pollution?
Plastic pollution is defined as the harmful accumulation of plastic waste in landfills, oceans, rivers, and the other environments.
There it can harm wildlife, ecosystems, and water sources.
According to National Geographic, about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, and only 9% of it has been recycled.
91% of plastic ends up as trash, either in landfills or in the environment.
Plastic can take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. As it does, it releases greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Plastic can also break down into smaller pieces, called microplastics. These tiny plastic particles are ingested by animals and humans, causing various health problems.
Microplastic is the term for any plastic particles that are smaller than 5 mm in diameter, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Microplastic can originate from different sources, such as the breakdown of larger plastic items, the use of plastic-based products like cosmetics and clothing, or the intentional production of plastic beads and pellets.
Microplastic can cause various environmental and health problems, as it can enter the water, soil, air, and food chain. It can harm wildlife by injuring, entangling, or choking them, or by accumulating in their tissues and organs.
Today, 90% of seabirds have microplastic in their stomach and many die a terrible death.
In a similar vein, Microplastic can also affect human health by transferring chemicals, pollutants, and pathogens that are attached to or released from the plastic particles.
After all, humans ingest a credit card worth of plastic every week.
If you're interested in the concerning impact of Microplastics on your body, check out this detailed blog article.
Plastic toxicity is the exposure to harmful chemicals that are present in plastic or that leach from plastic into food, beverages, and the human body.
Some of these chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, can disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive, developmental, and metabolic problems.
According to Harvard Health, exposure to these chemicals has been linked to infertility, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.
Plastic toxicity can occur through direct contact with plastic, such as using plastic containers, utensils, or toys, or through indirect contact, such as eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by plastic.
What Can We Do?
Plastic is a global problem that requires collective action and innovation to reduce its production, consumption, and disposal. Here are some ways we can help:
1. Transform your home
You have a choice to opt for plastic free products and avoid fueling the plastic industry's profit engine.
Choose reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable alternatives to plastic, such as glass, metal, wood, or bamboo.
2. Avoid single-use items
Avoid single-use plastic items, such as bags, bottles, straws, cups, and cutlery, and opt for reusable or compostable options instead.
- Buy products that have minimal or no plastic packaging, or buy in bulk to reduce waste.
- Recycle plastic properly and dispose of it responsibly. Do not litter or flush plastic down the drain.
- Support initiatives that aim to clean up plastic pollution and sustainable companies.
Plastic is a versatile material that has many benefits, but also many drawbacks.
By being more aware of the harmful impacts of plastic and taking action to reduce them, we can protect our planet and our health.
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