Why is it important to reduce plastic? This question has haunted us every time we take a step to be more environmentally conscience. However, do you really know how important to reduce plastic?
Plastic has been making lives easier since it was first introduced in the early 1900s. From the food and beverage containers to product packaging, electronics, and toys, plastic is dominant in our lives. Despite the convenience it offers, the major downside is the plastic did many bad things on the natural environment that we are living in.
Most trash providers do not have the ability to recycle plastic, meaning much of it ends up in the landfill, or worse, polluting the world’s oceans and coastlines. That’s why you need to reduce the plastic, and must do it right now.
How Plastic Impacts the Marine Ecosystem
Plastic debris is a pervasive problem throughout the world’s oceans and the blame sits squarely on our shoulders. The estimated 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean is thought to be responsible for a whopping 700 different marine species who are threatened by its presence, as that plastic plays a role in rising rates of species extinction.
But it’s not just the large collections of plastics that kill whales and fish and cause seabirds like the albatross to starve to death that are the problem; plastic never fully biodegrades. Instead, plastics photodegrade — that is, they break down under UV light into smaller and smaller pieces to the microscopic level. As they do, any toxic additives they contain, including flame retardants, antimicrobials, and plasticizers, will be released into the marine environment. These tiny pieces break down no further and persist unseen in the deeper layers of the marine environment indefinitely.
Why is it important to reduce plastic?
If the above evidence can’t hold you from using plastic, then you are in trouble. On top of the visible problem of macroplastics, we have further reason to be critically concerned about the state of the marine ecosystem and consequently, our future on this planet. Plastics kill larger marine life like whales and fish, and the photodegradation of macroplastics into microplastics are killing zooplankton. Without these animals alive and well in the marine environment, the oceans will die — and when the oceans die, we die, because one of the biggest carbon sinks will no longer function, nor will the production of half of the world’s oxygen.
Take action now
Everyone must act now and this is what you can do:
- Cut out disposables: Simple alternatives include bringing your own shopping bags to the supermarket, choosing reusable items wherever possible, and purchasing plastic with recycled content. You can use the best air purifier for allergies, because the air filters are recyclable. Or you can use the smart air conditioner because it can last long and reduce the disposable of mesh air filter. When buying anything, think about how to dispose it.
- Recycle: When you need to use plastic, be sure that you recycle it after you’ve reused it. Each piece of plastic recycled is one less piece of waste that could end up in our oceans. Read more in: A Bright Future for Renewables.
- Clean up your beach: Many organizations host clean-up days where you can volunteer to pick up trash at your local beach. Alternatively, you can just do it on your own accord with some friends. A few hours of your time can make a big difference. Read more in: Why should we avoid using plastic?