Our lifestyle has changed a lot, and with improved technology that updates itself, humans are increasing the amounts of waste more than ever. While technology is becoming bigger and better, humans are busy replacing their old articles with a new one. While they get rid of their old items that are not usually disposed of hygienically, leaving waste behind.
Humans have revolutionised the way they manufacture commodities and have replaced natural resources with plastic for many operations. Plastic has played a significant role in decreasing the cost of products and also ensuring their longevity. However, it poses a substantial threat to our environment if not disposed of properly.
Plastic wastes, when not appropriately treated, can cause lasting damage to our environment and the impacts of the same have started to show the effect on our planet. Plastic is an essential element that needs to be recycled because it destroys the soil on which we depend on for our agriculture needs. Moreover, plastic depletes and pollutes air, water and land. Considering how negative it can be, plastic waste management is very crucial and is a rising environmental concern all over the world.
Let’s begin with how crucial plastic waste management is:
If we take a look back at the topic of plastic waste and its management, this rising situation has fuelled several political agendas in the last few years. Several environmentalists claim that plastic waste is a slow poison for the Blue Planet and is also eating away the life of our marine animals. Even the smallest of plastic fragments make their way up in the food chain and end up choking larger marine animals and birds.
What once used to be a hub for the dumping of plastic wastes, has banned the import of plastic waste for recycling. China has been raising the issue towards the general public– “what happens to all the plastic waste we carefully separate for recycling?”.
The UK Government, at the beginning of 2018, published “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment”. The Prime Minister, along with several other supreme powers, announced their plan on eliminating “avoidable plastic waste” by 2042 and also brought the revolution of “plastic-free supermarket aisles”.
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Why has plastic become a global problem?
Ever since the dawn of the late 19th century, humans have shown strong reliability on plastic due to its affordable and durable nature. While we were always focused on the rise of this industry and its effectiveness on our daily lives, we failed to realise the rate at which it was destroying the planet.
The rise in plastic manufacturing factories increased air pollution that not only introduced hazardous diseases but also played a significant role in global warming. Following the air pollution came the land and water pollution that destroyed the food-chain from the lowest minimum. The continual cycle of production and improper disposal has led to the present situation where lives are at stake due to plastic waste.
Since the plastic waste cannot degrade quickly and takes over centuries to degrade, there have been landfills which are still present with such hazardous waste and are getting more of it every day. In the countries where there is no proper education of waste management, these wastes end up being introduced in the ocean where they lay a tremendous impact on marine animals.
The fact is, the amount of plastic that we have had produced won’t degrade in the present period where more is being added every single day. It is for this reason that we must start to ensure low plastic consumption and understand the importance of waste management for a healthy future for our planet.
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How to ensure less plastic consumptions?
As the saying goes that it’s never too late to start working on decreasing the consumption of plastic, governments across the world have come together to come up for ways in helping reduce the same.
Let’s have a look at some steps to ensure less plastic consumptions:
1. Say no to the use of plastic straws:
As per a recent survey about the US National Park Service, Americans alone utilise up to 500 million drinking straws on a regular basis. If we were to provide an estimate for the readers on how many straws 500 million are, the amount would fill over 125 school buses regularly. If this is the reading for the US alone, imagine the amount of waste produced every day.
We can come across a solution to reduce such waste by merely saying a ‘NO’ to the use of plastic straws or simply invest in containers made of glass, stainless steel, or even use the bamboo straws like the current norms.
2. Use recyclable paper cups instead of plastic:
There might be many situations where you are bound to use cups because there are no other alternatives. Yes, it is possible, but we can help preserve our environment under this situation too.
To tackle this problem, we can start using cups that are made of recyclable or recycled paper. By initiating a small movement as such, we are making a significant impact on slowing down the plastic consumption across the globe.
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3. Stop using bags produced from plastics:
Next time you opt for a plastic bag while purchasing your grocery, think about it again. Do you need to buy the gear that is a waste and can’t be reused? While this should do the trick most of the time, you could also start taking your bags that are made up of recyclable products to carry the daily groceries or fruits and vegetables.
By bringing your plastic bag whenever you go shopping, you reduce the stress that plastic lays on the environment. Also, you could save money that these supermarkets usually charge in return for those bags.
4. Ensure maximum use of the same plastic as much as possible:
Now, the next time you throw out a used plastic bag that has not even reached its complete life, ask yourself, “how can I reuse this?” or, “how can I recycle this?”
The answer to preserving nature from the adverse effects of plastic is in re-using the plastic material as much as possible. If it is a must, try buying biodegradable plastic. Yes, we have also come across plastic that takes less time to degrade in terms of other plastic pollutants.
While these are some of the most common things that every individual can do to reduce their part in plastic waste, we could also raise our voices on its comprehensive ban.
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Q. Which country are the top producers of plastic?
A. While China is the leader in producing plastic waste in the world, it is followed by Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, which all make the top five.
Q. How many marine species are affected by improper plastic disposal?
A. As per reports by the UN, more than 800 marine species are affected by the improper disposal of plastic waste.