Plastics are very convenient products that we use in our every day life and for most people it would be difficult to imagine a plastic free world. It is everywhere: used for water bottling purposes, food covering, parts that make up our daily items such as cell phones, clothes, and hospital equipments. With so many convenient methods for the use of plastics, many of us fail to recognize the dangers of plastic pollution which starts with industrial pollution, continues with its distribution and consumer pollution.
Designed to be discarded, disposable plastics such as water bottles, lids and straws are the greatest source of plastic pollution in addition to being toxic to our health and non-environmentally friendly due to a long process of degradation if any. Also some of us might think that plastics are not a big threat because its recyclable, sorry to burst your bubble but not all the recycled plastics are actually recycled, in reality most of the plastic stuff we discard into our recycling bin often just eventually becomes pollution somewhere else.
Tragically, a lot of it winds up in the ocean, where it is harmful to marine life or it breaks down into tiny particles that are ingested by fish, and then by us. However, there is still hope and plastic pollution can be avoided through the ban of plastics products or regulation of the chemical contents. Plastic bottles is the most common source of pollution in our campus due to the amount of bottled products we consume daily.
All around campus there are designations for recycling of plastic products, some of us who care about our environment make use of this service, while the rest of us , leave our bottled beverages in classrooms or library tables which in turn is cleaned up by the university workers resulting in more budget spending, but for those of us who do recycle, we fail to think or face the question of what happens to it after it has been cleaned up.
Based on the video by Chris Jordan, I was confronted by the fact that most of the plastics we use or recycle end up in our oceans and are a direct cause to a depletion in are marine life, because the sea animals that scavenge on other animals mistake this floating or submerged plastics as food and ingest them which ultimately leads to their death because the plastics are not biodegradable.
Also, during the production of plastic bottles we end up polluting out air, and most of us have discovered this for ourselves, because anyone who has attempted to burn or melt a plastic container, knows of the toxic smoke and fumes it can create and this fumes create green houses effects on our ozone layer. On the other hand, if we are not concerned about our ecosystem but place importance on our health, then it is important to realize that most of the key ingredients in the production of plastic bottles could be toxic, case in point BPA and phthalates.
In an article writen for TIME magazine, Bryan Walsh reports that “a recent bio-monitoring survey by the CDC has found traces of 212 environmental chemicals in human beings”, and that BPA and phthalates, chemicals which plastics bottles are composed of may lead to developemental problems while disrupting our endocrine system by the process of breaking down and infiltrating our food and water, then entering into our body to create and additive effect.
Also considering that we are not fully aware of all the ingredients in the production of plastic bottles due to manufacturing companies claiming confidentiality on their products and lack of data by the agencies, we can not absolutely say for certain that there are no other chemicals in plastic bottles that are more dangerous than BPA or Phthalates. Although Plastics are energy efficient, reusable and sanitary as explained by Angela Logomasini in her pro-plastic article for CQ research magazine, the health risk and environmental affect it has is way more significant than its advantages.
We survived before the advent of plastics with minimal health risk and a clean environment and we can survive when plastics are banned or if not then we can put our thinking caps on, weigh the benefits of the convenience of plastic products to the our well being and the environment we live in, then make effort to enforce stricter regulations of its chemical contents or find better alternatives.
Plastic pollution is a problem all over the world, which results from the use of plastic products including bottled water which often wind up as litter, or they drift into oceans and rivers and kill fish and can take 1,000 years to decompose. Every time we use a plastic bottle, we drive up the demand for oil – which is used to make plastics.