For centuries, we have been destructing the environment for our economic gains. And over the years destruction has only increased. We have now reached such a point that it has become almost impossible to undo the damage. In order to save life on earth, we should start letting go of our economic gains.
How does plastic effect our environment?
- In 2017 scientists crunched some numbers and found out that we have 9.2 billion tons of plastic to deal with and of that 6.9 billion tons have become waste out of which 6.3 billion tons hasn’t been recycled ever.
- Plastics survive even the extremes of the climatic conditions. It takes around 500 years for the simple plastics to break into their chemical components whereas the complex plastic i.e. most of them are non-biodegradable.
- The plastics do not decompose into their constituents but break down into minute pieces, known as microplastics.
- The plastics make their way to the water bodies and they adversely affect the feeding habits there. Once these plastics make their way into the guts of the aquatic animals, they develop several problems like loss of appetite (the plastics stay in their alimentary canal so they don’t feel the need to eat and die due to malnutrition or starvation), change in feeding cycle, low reproduction rate.
- The huge plastic and microplastic content in the oceans deplete their Carbon dioxide absorption capacity, as a result, CO2 levels in atmosphere rise resulting in global warming.
It’s high time that we shift to alternatives of plastics, recycle most of the plastic. While India has pledged to ban single-use plastic by 2022, other countries, as well as companies, are also taking proactive steps to curb plastic pollution and its effect. In this century we cannot afford any economic gain which is not environmentally sustainable.
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