Plastic Pollution: How Did It Happen?
As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the amount of plastic. Our on the go lifestyles require products such as soda cans and water bottles. The accumulation of these products has led to increasing amounts of plastic pollution around the world. As plastic is composed of bad toxins it has great potential to cause harm to the environment.
Put simply, plastic pollution happens when plastic is gathered in an area and has begun to negatively impact the natural environment and create problems for plants, marine and wildlife and even human population.
My Experience Working With The United Nations
Getting into the origin of the word, “Beat Plastic Pollution”, was the United Nation Environment Programme’s theme for the world environment Day 2018 for which India was the host country.
On this occasion I got an opportunity to work with United Nations Volunteers India where I had to spread the message of combating plastic pollution through the means of social media. Being a part of this campaign has turned me into the environmentalist I am today.
The theme was to make us consider how we can reduce our plastic use. The Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15, were in line with this, making us realise that life underwater is as important as life on land.
Factors Contributing To Plastic Pollution
The theme is chosen as a result of the current situation in plastic accumulation all over the world. Some factors contributing to it are:
- Plain old trash
Believe it or not, everything around us has a mark plastic unit toothbrushes, sanitary pads, packaging materials, pain et cetera. As mostly they aren’t disposed of properly there was a sure and Bad Hum begins. Trash dumps and landfills are on fortunately channel through which it happens. According to waste management only 1% of plastic bags as a turn for the cycling and rest end up in landfills.
- Plastic is overused
Since plastics are less expensive, it is a widely available and over used items in the world today. We produce hundreds hundred millions of plastic every day, most a which isn’t disposed properly
As you sow, so shall you reap would be the perfect saying to describe the events plastic pollution. In the month of July 2018 just days after the world environment Day event, natures Karma give it back to us, as tons of garbage was washed ashore on the beach in elite area of Juhu in Mumbai.
Effects Of Plastic Pollution On Human Life
If you google images of plastic harming the marine, you would easily be able to understand the damage humans are inflicting on the environment and hence think about its long-term effects like –
- It affects the food chain
As tiny organisms ingest plastics, it enters the food chain, further entering the bigger organisms that depend on them. This also implies that plastic is present in the fish that humans eat.
- Ground water, land and air pollution
As most plastics don’t decompose properly, it enters the soil and underground water table. The harmful toxins negatively impact the soil fertility and quality of water. Often plastics are burnt, this leads to release of harmful gases that cause respiratory problems for humans.
- It kills marine life
The plastic toxins act as poison for the marine animals. By statistics 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags.
Now I’m sure most of would have studied causes and effects of environment degradation but let’s get into what we should have actually studied i.e. the practical solutions that we can undertake to reduce our wastes.
Many of you reading this, would have used plastic bags, plastic bottles, disposable cutlery, plastic straws etc. in their lives.
Solutions To Plastic Pollution: Alternatives We Use
So I would like to present the alternatives to them-
- Simply carry your own chewed/cloth bag, every time you step off the song, they come in all sizes and tell me if you hold it and fit into your bags.
- Refuse plastic cutlery, instead carry your own metal spoons and forks. They aren’t that heavy.
- Replace your plastic toothbrush, with a bamboo toothbrush
- Investing in Reusable containers and coffee mugs
- Invest in paper/aluminium straws. Or simply reject the straw, the drink will taste just the same.
- Using Wood-Based Combs at home
- Make Your Own Face Packs
- Drink nariyal paani and fresh juices instead of canned juices
On the topic of beverages, you can also simply carry your own mug and bottles.
Honestly adopting lifestyle swaps isn’t that difficult, this’ll benefit in the long run and help us in achieving SDG is 2030.
It’s very easy for us to blame the government for all that’s happening around us. Plastic bags are banned in many states. No international brand is allowed to set shop in India if they use plastic bags.
Brands like H&M and Zara use plastic bags in countries like the USA, Dubai and Singapore. We also see organisations like Starbucks that is planning to eliminate plastic straws. The food app Zomato also gives us a choice to give a plastic that will be with the food delivery
My aim of writing this was to create an impact on people, so that all us as smart citizens of this global Village take small steps to reduce our wastage and remember to care.
Sources: Blogger’s Own Experience , Our planet is drowning in plastic pollution