The dangers of plastic use

Plastic is very popular with everyone, both retailers as well as customers because it is cheap, strong, lightweight and functional. We even wear plastic clothes, as long as they have fancy labels, we will wear them.

Plastic has become a modern phenomenon, to the point where we wonder what we would do without it, from chairs to toys, containers to shoes, we use them all. However, plastic is also responsible for causing pollution, killing wildlife, and using up the precious resources of the earth as it is made from petroleum and other non-renewable resources and takes hundreds of years to breakdown into tiny toxic particles.

We use items such as plastic bags, pampers and other plastic items daily. They are extremely popular and useful BUT they are extremely harmful to the Environment for the following reasons:

 

(1). Litter the landscape

 

Each year more and more pampers and other plastic items such as plastic bags go into our landfills or end up littering the environment. Once they become litter, they find their way into our waterways, parks, beaches, and streets, some people think that burning is the answer but when they are burned, they infuse the air with toxic fumes.

 

(2). Kills wildlife

 

About 100,000 animals such as dolphins, turtles whales, penguins are killed every year due to these products made from plastic. Many animals ingest plastic bags, mistaking them for food, and therefore die. And worse, the ingested plastic bag remains intact even after the death and decomposition of the animal, thus, it lies around in the landscape where another victim may ingest it.

The plastic rings used for binding cans of beer together can trap birds either by getting tangled in their legs or their beaks, this renders them unable to move around or open their mouths to find food and so they starve to death.

 

(3). Non-biodegradable

 

One of the worst environmental effects is that they are non-biodegradable. The decomposition takes about 400 years. No one will live so long to witness decomposition of plastic.

 

(4). Petroleum is required to produce plastic bags




 

To make plastic, about 60-100 million barrels of oil are needed every year around the world. Surely, this precious resource should not be wasted on producing plastic bags, should it?

 

So, what can we do about the use of Plastic?

 

Use a cloth/straw bag for holding the shopping, each one of us can shoulder some of the responsibility for this problem, which ultimately harms us.

Try to use alternatives to plastic whenever and wherever possible because by cutting down on your use of plastic, you are doing your bit to save our planet.

What did we do before Pampers, we all managed without them and now they are one of the predominant products in the world’s landfills, what happened to good old fashioned diapers? Did we really become that lazy that we can compromise the planet’s existence through not washing diapers?

We all want to believe that the regenerative power of nature is such that no matter how many Hurricanes hit us, we will survive. Hurricane Ivan flattened us, and yet we can now see large trees and other plant species flourishing everywhere.

The life force we all know seems to triumph over anything, even the plague of plastics thus far, but there can be a tipping point: plants depend on insects and animals who are themselves impacted negatively by plastics and other forms of petroleum pollution.

So if we continue to use such vast amounts of plastic we are saying that it is okay to poison our environment slowly and then what is our legacy to our children, a toxic waste where plants and animals slowly become extinct.

Many parts of the world have banned the use of plastic bags. Wales, Scotland, China and a number of States in the US for example, have stopped supplying plastic bags with any kind of shopping.

Friends of the Earth Grenada says that we need to take a leaf from that book and encourage people not to use so much packaging for their shopping whatever it is they are purchasing.

We encourage you to tell your shopkeeper you don’t want to use their plastic bags; take your own bags to the Supermarket; think about how your behaviour has an impact on the environment, how it will impact on the lives of your children and grandchildren.

We have the power to change old habits that no longer sustain us or the earth, we can do this, we can!

(The above was submitted by Friend of the Earth-Grenada)

 

 

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