Top 10 Scary Facts About Plastic Pollution You Need To Know.
To a layman, sustainability may seem like a buzzword. But how we got here as a collective can be attributed to the world’s waste problem. Plastic pollution has risen over the last few years at an alarming rate, with single use plastic at the helm of the crisis.
These facts are a testament to the growing impact plastic waste is having on human life and what it could cost in the long run.
As recorded in 2020, a million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world: Single use bottles, usually made of PET or polyethylene terephthalate, take upto 450 years to break down completely. Due to photodegradation rather than biodegradation, the process of decomposition of such bottles leaves behind micro plastics which inevitably enters water and food sources.
Our plastic consumption over just the past 15 years accounts for half of the world’s plastic waste and we are not slowing down: The highest attributing factors to this have been the rise of consumerism and need for instant gratification among modern consumers. It is further estimated that by the year 2050, we will product three times more plastic waste leading to severe plastic pollution which could be deadly for mankind,
Soon there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans: Research says that by 2025, there will be one piece of plastic waste to every three fish in the ocean. By 2050, plastic waste will outgrow the fish population completely, which is a rather alarming scenario.
Plastic waste is a threat to the entire ecosystem: Besides sea creatures, several other animal species are being impacted by plastic waste. From camels in the Arabian Peninsula and cows in India to deers in Japan and elephants in Africa, animals all over the world have been reported to have ingested plastic and died as a result.
Microplastics will soon be a permanent component of the food chain: It has already been established that almost all sea food being consumed by humans today contains microplastics. Further, it has been found that single use plastic water bottles also contain micro plastics that can further lead to other severe contaminations and diseases in humans.
Production of Plastic costs the environment in more ways: A pound of plastic requires 22 gallons of water in the production process. In other words, every single use plastic bottle takes twice the amount of water to be produced than it can carry.
Single use plastic is still legal in most places around the world: Besides a handful of places like Peru, Canada and San Diego, most countries around the world still allow for unlimited use of single use plastic, indicating that plastic pollution is not considered as a major threat to the environment by the majority of the world population.
Sustainable substitutes of plastic are often misconceived as being expensive: Biodegradable plastic and other environmentally friendly substitutes to plastic are often viewed as expensive. However, this is further from the truth as cost per single use of sustainable alternatives is far lower than what single use plastic costs, both economically and environmentally.
Plastic Pollution affects human life before it’s born: A recent medical discovery reveals that microplastics have been found in planetas of unborn babies, which were likely ingested or breathed in by the mother. The microplastics have also been found in the membrane within which the fetus develops before birth. Though such babies and mothers remained healthy after birth, these foreign particles could hamper the development of the fetus in other females.
Unethically produced biodegradable plastics are also a case of concern: Today, many businesses and individuals are trying to make strides towards sustainability and in a bid to get there, they are opting for biodegradable plastics which are often made through spurious means. Frequently, uncertified businesses are guilty of indulging in unethical practices such as adding CaCo3 to the mix, which is harmful for the environment, just to reduce cost. It is important that only certified and trusted manufacturers are sought out by businesses to obtain biodegradable plastic packaging, in order to truly minimize plastic pollution.
The threats that plastic pollution poses to the environment is monumental. The responsibility to make more environmentally conscious decisions lies in the hands of both individuals and corporates. A truly collective initiative to curb the production of plastic waste will eliminate the problem, thus salvaging some of our planet’s lost sanctity.