Concerns About Plastic Waste
Disclaimer: This article contains disturbing images of the effects of Plastic Waste on wildlife.
In recent years, people have begun to closely investigate and monitor our impact on the environment, particularly the relationship between the ocean and plastic waste.
These investigations have yielded frightening results:
- record levels of pollution
- habitat loss
- animal endangerment
The damage already done is undoubtedly distressing. Unfortunately, we can estimate it will take many decades before it can be reversed.
With growing concern over the environment, the scientific world has been working tirelessly. The hope is to discover and implement new tools to protect and save our World.
Considering this, it is no surprise that many countries and cities have made a vital change. Changes that are necessary in order to control the consumption of one of the most notorious waste agents:
California became the first state to do away with plastic bags. Other states have enacted plastic bag regulations to cut down on waste. However, bags are only one of dozens of different forms which plastic can take.
In 2010 alone, an estimated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated in 192 countries. Anywhere from 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of that waste entered the ocean.
Even with growing efforts to recycle and reuse plastic products, this pollution has not been eliminated.
However, one of the largest sources of plastic pollution is not plastic products themselves, but the tiny plastic pellets that are used in plastic production factories.
Sadly, these pellets are spilled from ships in devastating numbers. They fill the ocean and wash up on beaches, small enough to be overlooked but plentiful enough to have toxic effects on marine life.
Despite many plastics being recyclable, too many of these products find their way into the dump or the ocean instead of a recycling plant.
We now know that once in the ocean, these plastics wreak havoc and destruction on marine creatures and their habitats.
Plastics harm a wide number of sea creatures, such as whales, sea turtles, fish, seals, and coastal birds.
They often suffer from
- Poisonous Chemical Leeching
- Starvation from Ingestion
Health Hazards to Humans
Once toxins from plastic litter seep into the ground and contaminate the groundwater and soil, every living creature is at risk.
The danger does not end with wildlife.
Plastic pollution poses a substantial threat to human safety as well. Since most fish and other animals consumed by humans are turning up with plastic in their guts.
Ultimately ,the plastics seep chemicals that are known to affect reproduction and hormone levels in animals and humans alike.
As a result, chemicals released from plastics, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and styrene enter the ecosystem as plastic litter breaks down. Therefore, these chemicals spread throughout the food chain, poisoning as they go.
Most of all, eating poisoned food is an incredibly alarming idea. The statistics suggest that there is no way to consistently avoid plastic contamination in wild-caught fish or other animals.
Finally, States and countries are cracking down on large-scale plastic consumption. Due to this we now have the springboard to launch an all-out war on plastics. Luckily, some of us have made it our calling to protect and replenish the natural world around us!