About 13 million metrics of tons of plastic ends up in the ocean every year, causing sea animals to suffocate, starve, and drown. Plastic not only affect animals, it also has a negative effect on humans because it contaminates the sea food humans eat. (PEW) As a result, humans are being stressed everyday about the consequences of the use of plastics. Utilitarianism takes a role in the negative consequences of plastics since it is impacting a great number of the world’s population. The single use of plastic is a moral issue in today’s world that has been affecting the environment for a long time. In this paper, I will discuss how the single use of plastics affects sea animals and humans affecting the greater number of people by using the utilitarianism principle.
“Utilitarianism, at its most basic, states that something is moral, or good when it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. It’s a theory of normative ethics that asks whether a specific action is good or bad, moral or immoral.” (What). The question is: Does the single use of plastics negatively affect the greater number of people to consider it morally wrong? Well, statistically National Geographic states that by 2050, every seabird on the planet will be eating plastic (We). Considering this and the negative effect that is has on animals it is morally wrong. Sea animals are being affecting by plastic every day, they are dying reducing the population of animals, causing human to worry about the future. For example, sea turtles are being suffocated by getting straws stocked in their nose enabling their breathing. Furthermore, not only the sea turtles are affected. Others sea animals including mammals, fish, sharks, and birds and dying because of single use of plastics. Over one million sea animals are killed each year because of plastics use. (information). While animals are dying, humans are being stressed causing an unhappy population because of the negative consequences that plastic use is going to bring for the future generations. Therefore, we ought to the people to reduce the single use of plastics to reduce stress for the greater good.
Not only are humans being affected emotionally but also physically. The single plastic use is also affecting human health. Once the plastics it’s in the ocean it takes thousands of years to decompose. As a result, fish and wildlife are becoming intoxicated. Consequently, the toxins from the plastics have entered the food chain, threatening human health (plastics). Humans are in danger as well because these toxins found in fish are very dangerous for humans. Some toxins found in plastic are linked with cancer, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues. (plastics). For instance, cancer is a major problem in today’s world that causes the population to decrease since there is not really a cure for it. Acknowledging that the single plastic use can end in ending a person’s life because of cancer, it generates fear in humans. According to the utilitarian principle, the single use of plastic is unethical since it is causing fear and unhappiness to the greater amount of people because of its negative consequences. For example, in a family with history of cancer or immune system problems the single use of plastic might be a threat. Considering that is almost impossible to vanish all plastic use, humans are being altered. As a result, we must serve as a community and start thinking of the future to have a happy environment. As it is said by experts, in some areas, the buildup of plastics is estimated to span 5 million square miles. To put it into perspective, that is the equivalent of the area of the U.S. plus India. (turtles). As citizens, actions need to be taken for the future and to keep a happy environment for the greater good.
Unfortunately, as the National Geographic says, “we are addicted to plastics” (we). Think about everything we use in our everyday life and almost half is made of plastic. For example, trash bags, grocery bags, beverages bottles, beauty products, straws, and infinite more. Only in plastics bags use, without counting all the other plastics materials, there are one hundred billion plastics bags used in one year in the United States. That is equivalent to one plastics bag per person in the United Sates per day. Since there is so many plastics used by humans, it is difficult to vanish all plastic use. Also, companies would not stop selling plastic, since it is the cheapest material in the market. Unfortunately, our world is run by money. The contradiction to utilitarianism comes from the greater amount of people being happy with cheap products made of plastics. If plastics products were to be vanished, glass or paperboards would be more expensive, and people will be upset. However, people are also upset because we do not live in a happy environment because of the negative consequences of the single use of plastic.
In my opinion, there are two sides of utilitarianism when it comes to the single use of plastics. The single use of plastic is considered morally wrong according to the utilitarian principle that says, “act to the greater amount of good for the greater amount of number” (what). The greater amount of number is in danger because of the effects of single use of plastic, causing an unhealthy environment. With the use of plastic being remove, the greater amount of people will be happy because it will minimize danger for the future. However, if plastic. is ever vanished, product prices would increase, causing unhappy citizens. In conclusion, utilitarianism in single plastic use contradicts. However, we should have a happy environment to have a happy life. We as good citizens can help the world be a better place by reducing the use of plastics to decrease the dangerous threats about the future.