If you take a quick look around you, plastic is everywhere. Plastic could be in your room, bathroom, kitchen, outside, etc. Some of the plastic items people make are supposed to be used over and over again but unfortunately, the plastic we use is only used for a short amount of time before we throw it out. In fact, experts say that 50% of the plastic we use is only used once before we throw it away. These plastic items can end up being the ocean, which is very concerning. For instance, imagine being a whale, watching your friends choking in front of you as a result of them eating a piece of a single-use plastic fragment floating in the water. Imagine you, being the one that is choking and dying from plastic, and you can’t do anything about it. All of this happens because we are the ones littering and throwing plastic into the ocean and landscapes which threatens wildlife and marine life. There are an estimated 46,000-1,000,000 plastic fragments floating in the water and over 100,000 marine animals have died from plastic every year. But, these are the only ones that were found and recorded. Millions of animals will potentially die from plastic bags and water bottles. Animals could be dying right now but yet, we keep throwing plastic waste into the ocean and littering. Plastic greatly affects animal and human lives and can change how we live and our daily lifestyle. Plastic also causes global issues and pollutes our environment. Plastic is very life threatening, and if we do not stop or reduce this now, it will hugely affect our future and daily lives and of course, our one and only, planet earth.
Almost all objects made from non-biodegradable plastic contribute to global warming. This means that plastic can take up to hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down and be absorbed into the soil and be recycled naturally. The plastic that are thrown out in the landfills are most likely still there and can stay there for many, many generations before it breaks down. Global warming is a serious threat as it causes extreme weather, melts glaciers, rises sea levels, and more. It also increases the chances of natural disasters to occur like floods around the world and can gratefully impact human life. Plastic straws cannot be broken down naturally by decomposers and releasing good bacteria that will benefit the environment, but instead, plastic straws break into smaller pieces and releases harmful chemicals into the soil, air, and water. We need water, soil, and air to survive so this is a extremely dangerous threat. These concerns can affect our daily lives and make our lives harder to live. Some solutions of reducing plastic is burning the plastic but that leads to pollution into the air. Breathing polluted air can affect our health and cause respiratory problems. Through, the production of making plastic bags and other kinds of plastic creates greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are the gases that cause global warming. Since plastic bags are so lightweight, they can travel around landscapes really easy which can put more and more animals to danger. It also takes a lot of energy to make a plastic bag. To produce 9 bags, it takes the same amount of energy to drive a car 1 kilometer. Creating bottled water takes 2,000 times the the energy required to produce tap water! We could be using this energy for other important use but instead, we are using energy to make plastic items. Plastic doesn’t just affect earth and contribute global warming, it massively affects animals and humans lifestyles.
Tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals, turtles, and more are killed every year from plastic bag litter in the marine and wildlife environment. Once the plastic bag is ingested by the animal, it cannot be digested and so it stays in the stomach. If the animal potentially keeps consuming plastic, it can fill up their stomach until it is completely full with harmful chemicals and toxins and kill them. Humans buy about 1 million plastic water bottles per minute and only 23% of plastic water bottles are recycled within the U.S. This means 365,000,000 plastic water bottles are bought every year! Plastic bottles contain a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) which is used to make the plastic hard and clear. “BPA is an endocrine disruptor which has been proven to be hazardous to human health” states onegreenplanet.org. BPA can cause a lot of health problems including types of cancer, neurological difficulties, early puberty in girls, and even defects newborn babies. A study found that 96% of women in the U.S. have BPA in their bodies. Recently, a sperm whale had died from consuming plastic. This sperm whale is about estimating to being 7 years old and sperm whales can live up to 70 years! This is unbelievable because animals that can live for decades are dying because of plastic and litter in the ocean. The plastic items that we are making are supposed to be used over and over again for a long time. People are not noticing these concerns that are happening to our world and it is slowly tearing our world apart everyday. We need our earth to last as long as possible, but in order to do that, we need to stop and reduce the use of plastic.
We only have one earth, with limited resources and limited space. Instead of throwing plastic in the trash, try reusing it. There are plenty of ways of reusing or reducing the use of plastic. You can sometimes recycle plastic bags that aren’t too dirty with your local recycling center. Check with your local recycling center if they can take the type of plastic bag you are throwing out. But if they can not take the plastic, you can reuse them in bathrooms, in the kitchen, in the garden, whilst shopping, and even in your car! Instead of using a plastic bag while you shop, keep a reusable bag with you at all times. Countries are starting to ban plastic bags or even put a small price for the use of plastic bags. In the bathroom, you can put your electronic devices in a plastic bag in case you want to read while you are in the tub, or you can fill a plastic bag with distilled white vinegar and tie it around your showerhead to remove soap scum and mildew. In the kitchen, you can store halves of peppers, onions, tomatoes, in a small bag. You can also put store bought treats like cookies, buns, bread, etc. in a zipper plastic bag to keep them fresh for longer periods of time and reuse the same bag over and over again. Or, if you like baking cakes, you can make your own DIY plastic piping bag!