It is an undeniable fact that plastic is a ubiquitous product. You can find it in abundance everywhere, mostly because it is a functional and cheap carrier for many other products. It has made life convenient and has solved several of humanities problems, but at a great price. Plastic pollution has become unmanageable. Note that the product plastic is versatile and extremely useful, but people’s unsustainable attitude towards plastic usage-like using a plastic bag once and throwing it away, has led to the problem we have at hand today.
IT IS HARD TO NOT USE PLASTIC
Plastic products have revolutionized the way we live. Modern technology would simply not be possible if it were not for the far-reaching uses of plastic. You can find plastic everywhere, from smartphones to medical implements. Can you imagine hospitals using reusable glass syringes or catheters on you? Plastic also makes for cheap and effective packaging, which has made transport of products way easier. Plastic materials are present in our cars, helmets, switchboards and furniture. Not only is going plastic free impossible, it is also unfeasible, especially if plastic alternatives are not that sustainable as well. Cloth takes much more time, water, energy to be produced, paper production uses many chemicals that are ultimately leached into water bodies, and metal mining cannot last forever. Want to grow some bamboo instead for bamboo bottles? To grow enough bamboo to replace plastic worldwide, you would need to use fertilizers and pesticides, all of which eventually causes water pollution.
THE IMPACT OF PLASTIC ON WATER BODIES
Most of the plastic generated today goes down into huge garbage fills, where they lie for a long time without degrading. A lot of it reach our water bodies and end up in the sea, where they interfere with the food cycles in the sea. Plastic is currently found all over– from the guts of birds and the flesh of fish to the noses of turtles. Plastic products like giant fishing nets never decompose and they often trap big sea creatures like turtles, eventually leading to their death. These nets also break down to release micro-plastics, which are consumed by fishes and crustaceans and end up back on our plates. However, if we use plastic products responsibly, we can make sure it does not harm our ecology. Let us see how!
DO NOT LITTER!
We are all responsible for the safe disposal of the products we use, especially if these products have adverse effects for our environment. Plastic, being non-biodegradable is one such thing, which when used in excess smothers everything else in the environment. It is hard to give up the convenience of plastic products, so the best way forward is if we learn to safely dispose the plastic we use. To achieve this as a society, we need awareness classes and governments that are more responsible. For example, local authorities can make sure that plastic waste only goes in the bins they are supposed to go into, or take punitive actions against those who irresponsibly flick plastic waste into water bodies.
REUSE YOUR PLASTIC PRODUCTS!
Several of the plastic products we use can be reused several times, but because plastic is cheap and readily available, no one thinks twice about throwing away a plastic product and getting another one. Instead of doing this, we must learn to reuse the materials we have in the interest of our ecology and future generations. If we do not do this, the plastic we throw away may eventually reach water bodies and the production of new plastic is a water intensive process. A research study found that in 2010, 8 million MT of plastic waste was swept off the land into the ocean due to poor waste administration techniques as well as one more 150 million MT was moving through marine communities. Reuse things like plastic water bottles, especially those that require a lot of water to for production like PET.
SAY NO TO EXCESSIVE AND UNECESSARY PLASTIC PACKAGING
The commercial over-exploitation of plastic is the source of all our plastic woes. You can often see products that do not require packaging packed in rolls and rolls of plastic simply to give the illusion of volume. Many things ordered off e-commerce sites, especially branded items come in way more packaging than the product requires, just for aesthetic purposes. It is definitely excessive, considering the fact that the plastic packaging almost certainly ends up in the dump and the worst part is, they are more often improperly disposed than not. This practice must stop, and manufacturers must step up in order to protect the interest of our environment.
USE GOOD QUALITY PLASTIC
Instead of using cheap, one time use plastic, use ones that are more durable. This way you can reduce a huge amount of plastic waste. Another thing you can do is to opt for plastic that can be recycled several times.
You can find out how many times a plastic product can be recycled by looking out for this particular symbol. The number of times it can be recycled is the number written on it. Plastic like PET is highly recyclable, whereas plastic like LDPE (used to make cling wraps and grocery bags) is not only one-time use, but also one of the greatest ocean pollutants.
RECYCLE YOUR PLASTIC
PET bottles are among the most recyclable plastic products in the world. It is the responsibility of consumers to make sure that their plastic bottles do not end up in the ocean or any water body. According to certain sources, only 10-15% of plastic produced worldwide is recycled. A considerable amount of the non-recycled plastics ends up in water bodies. Make sure that you use recyclable plastic and that your plastic product is correctly on its way to being recycled. Follow government mandates on recycling procedures. It would also be great if local authorities hold awareness campaigns and reward people for following correct recycling procedures.
SWITCH TO BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC
This is the sustainable alternative to plastic if it is produced and disposed in an ideal manner. Biodegradable plastics are not easily degraded and are as harmful as one non-biodegradable materials if it reaches water bodies. They often require specific conditions created in an industrial composting plant to degrade. However, if individuals and local governments make sure that such bio-plastics are correctly taken to places where it can be broken down, it is the best way to replace non-biodegradable plastic. Some bio-plastics can also be composted at home you need to check its labels to make sure what kind of bio-plastic you are dealing with.
USE RECYCLED OCEAN PLASTIC
Using recycled ocean plastic is a good gesture towards the efforts going on to save our aquatic ecosystems from plastic pollution. Big companies like Adidas have already started producing ocean plastic shoes that are as stylish as they are environment friendly. Several other products that are made of ocean plastic are available, like bags, and fabric for cloth. Buy recycled ocean plastic products to support the efforts going on to clean our oceans and save the aquatic ecosystem.