Plastic pollution: are we reaching our last straw?

12 June 2019 By

Plastic plays such an intimate role in our daily lives, from the contact lenses we wear, to the containers we consume our food in. While its creation may have paved the way to a more convenient and innovative society, the question is, at what cost?

Plastic dependency

Single-use plastic is the main culprit that has permeated our daily lives and is now polluting our beautiful lands and oceans. A report by Dalberg discovered that over the last decade alone, the world has produced as much plastic as it has over the preceding years combined, with 75% of that being waste product.

Seal pups caught in plastic fishing nets

When plastic is not properly disposed, it ends up in the ocean, polluting and endangering our wildlife. It then continues to linger, becoming micro and nano-particles as plastic never fully biodegrades.

Latest research by Messika Revel, Amélie Châtel and Catherine Mouneyrac found how these particles can threaten human health by entering our body via inhalation, the natural food chain or tap water.

“Every stage of the plastic lifecycle poses a significant risk to human health, and the majority of people worldwide are exposed to plastic at multiple stages of this lifecycle.”

Mayor of Dagupan, Phillipines, Belen Fernadez overlooking the cities 50 year old plastic dump that regularly gets put into the South China Sea

Scientists have found a connection between plastic pollution and climate change. However, Ted Siegler, a Vermont resource economist stated that unlike climate change, the solution for plastic pollution is a lot simpler. All we require is greater institutional management of waste and global citizen responsibility for keeping our land and ocean plastic-free.

What can we do?

There are several ways you can be a part of the solution. Here are seven ways you can prevent micro-plastics from further becoming a macro issue:

  • Next time you get your coffee fix, ditch that takeaway cup and take your own mug, or even better, invest in a keep-cup.
  • Replace plastic grocery bags with reusable eco-bags. If you are feeling creative, give crocheting a go and make one yourself.
  • Boycott products with microbeads. These plastic beads are non-biodegradable and have also found to be harmful to animals and humans alike.
  • Make the switch from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo ones.
  • Next time you order a drink, skip the straw, or bring your own metal one.
  • Stop buying plastic drink bottles and start using a reusable bottle.
  • Exercise your consumer power by choosing to support businesses that are making sustainable changes in their practices and waste management.

For more information, check out these links

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/
  2. https://www.ciel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Plastic-and-Health-The-Hidden-Costs-of-a-Plastic-Planet-February-2019.pdf
  3. http://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloads/solving_plastic_pollution_through_accountability_eng_singles.pdf
  4. https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics/multimedia
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Messika_Revel2/publication/321874398_Micronanoplastics_A_threat_to_human_health/links/5a788a6c0f7e9b41dbd42ea1/Micronanoplastics-A-threat-to-human-health.pdf
  6. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-solutions-waste-pollution/
  7. https://storyofstuff.org/plastic-microbeads-ban-the-bead/

 

This blog was written by Minushika Punchihewa.


Recent News

Shopping Cart