There are many things that are made of plastic. Nowadays, using plastic utensils, bags, and other containers have become more and more popular. They’re the most convenient and affordable to use, after all. Although there have been many movements that encourage the use of washable cloth bags and reusable or paper straws, many still opt for disposable plastic items because of their convenience. The world revolves around disposable items and these mostly consist of plastic materials. In this article, we’ll be discussing how plastic affects our planet and what we can do to help save it.
Plastic Pollution Today
Whenever we order take-out or buy from online stores, we are using quite a lot of plastic. Food and other items usually come in bubble wrap and bags made from plastic. Unlike paper packaging that easily breaks or leaks, plastic is more durable and is waterproof. So, many restaurants and shops opt to use plastic for their packaging and utensils. Plastic is non-biodegradable, which means it cannot break down, unlike paper. There’s even more non-biodegradable waste now because of the pandemic. We’re now required to wear face masks and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer everywhere we go. Imagine how much plastic we throw every day because of disposable face masks and small bottles of hand sanitizers.
Other than that, more establishments are using plastic covers to ensure the social distancing of customers and employees. Even elevator buttons are covered with plastic for easy disinfecting. But even before the pandemic came about, we’ve been using a lot of this non-biodegradable material. Here are some plastic pollution facts that you need to know to start doing your part in lessening plastic waste.
Plastic Pollution On the Planet
Every year, over eight million tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean, and globally, more than 370 million tons of plastic is produced. With this, it’s taking a toll on humans, wildlife, and the ecosystem. Each year, around a million marine creatures die from ocean plastic waste. These wastes are mistaken for food which occupies the digestive system of sea animals. They are also the ones responsible for many turtles and whales suffocating. Scientists have said that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean if humans don’t reduce the production of plastic. Asian countries are actually the ones producing the most plastic that goes into the ocean. The top six countries that contribute the most to the ocean’s destruction are China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines. First world countries also ship their garbage to these countries for disposal.
Regulating Plastic Use All Over the World
Over 127 countries have already implemented policies to regulate the use of plastic bags since 2018, according to a U.N. report. Single-use plastics such as plates, straws, cups, and packaging are now banned in 27 countries. Kenya has the strictest regulation laws in plastic use. They have completely banned the use of plastic in any form. Producing, selling, or using plastic bags in Kenya will mean a fine that can cost as much as $40,000 or imprisonment of up to four years. But on a brighter note, England has decreased its plastic bag usage and sales by 80%.
What We Can Do to Help in Lessening Plastic Waste
We should be more mindful of the things we buy. Buying groceries in bulk will need less plastic packaging. An example of this is buying goods that aren’t individually packed. Whether it’s sliced cheese or shampoo, you can lessen plastic waste by choosing goods that aren’t individually packed in plastic. Items that don’t have too much plastic packaging will more likely be cheaper, too. When you’re mindful of the things you buy, you’re not only doing your part by saving the planet in small ways, but you’re only saving money.
Using reusable bags, facial masks, and cutlery might take a bit of effort to bring or wash, but it’s better for the environment and your wallet in the long-run. Having to keep buying disposable items won’t help you save money, after all.
Small Steps Make Big Changes for the Future
Starting to make changes in our lifestyle and choosing to do what’s good for our environment now would be a generous thing to do for our planet and future generations. It’s about making small adjustments and thinking of the good for everyone. Taking baby steps to make a change and help stop plastic pollution in our own little ways can go a long way. Wouldn’t you like to see your future children and grandchildren living comfortably because of a well-taken care environment and a thriving planet? Small things make a difference, do your part in lessening plastic pollution amidst this pandemic and make the Earth thrive better for more youngsters to enjoy.