Plastic is everywhere in our modern world. From the packaging of our food and drinks to the clothes we wear and the technology we use, plastic has become an essential part of our daily lives. But did you know that plastic is also one of the most harmful materials to our environment, human health, and climate change? Today we’ll uncover the shocking truth about plastic by presenting five surprising facts that everyone needs to know.
Fact 1: Plastic never really decomposes
Plastic is made up of long chains of molecules that are not biodegradable. This means that plastic never really decomposes, but instead, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as microplastics. Microplastics are now found in almost every part of the world, including remote areas like the Arctic and Antarctic. Microplastics can be ingested by marine life, which can lead to health problems and even death. And because we consume marine life, microplastics can also end up in our bodies.
Fact 2: Plastic pollution affects marine life
The world’s oceans are facing a crisis due to plastic pollution. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 if we don’t take action. Plastic pollution affects marine life in many ways. For example, sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and can die from ingesting them. Plastic debris can also entangle marine animals, leading to injuries or death. And because plastic never really decomposes, it can remain in the ocean for hundreds of years, continually harming marine life.
Fact 3: Plastic production has increased rapidly over the years
The production of plastic has increased rapidly over the years. In 1950, the world produced just 1.5 million tons of plastic. By 2015, that number had risen to 322 million tons. Plastic production is expected to double by 2050, which will result in an even greater impact on the environment. The environmental consequences of plastic production include the depletion of natural resources, pollution of water and air, and the emission of greenhouse gases.
Fact 4: Plastic waste poses health risks to humans
Plastic waste poses health risks to humans in many ways. For example, microplastics can enter our bodies through the food chain. Studies have shown that microplastics have been found in seafood, bottled water, and even in the air we breathe. Microplastics have been linked to health problems such as inflammation, oxidative stress, and even cancer. Plastic waste can also attract harmful chemicals, such as phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), which can have negative health effects.
Fact 5: Recycling is not a cure-all for plastic waste
Recycling is often touted as the solution to our plastic waste problem. However, recycling is not a cure-all. In many cases, plastic cannot be recycled, or the cost of recycling is too high. Even when plastic is recycled, it still has a negative impact on the environment. The process of recycling requires energy and resources, and it often produces lower-quality materials than virgin plastic. The best way to reduce plastic waste is to reduce plastic use and consumption.
What can we do?
Reducing plastic use and consumption is the best way to address the plastic crisis. Here are some steps we can take to reduce our plastic waste:
- Use reusable bags, water bottles, and containers instead of single-use plastic items.
- Choose products with minimal packaging or packaging made from sustainable materials.
- Avoid products with microbeads, which can contribute to microplastic pollution.
- Support policies and companies that promote sustainable practices and reduce plastic waste.
- Properly dispose of plastic waste by recycling or composting.