Plastic has brought in major changes in our lifestyle, accept it or not. Whether for shopping knickknacks or buying our monthly groceries or stacking unused toys of your kid as it grows up-plastic bag is the quickest and only solution for all your concerns. While going to office every day or a weekend trip with your nomadic chums, the one thing which you never forget to carry is a plastic water bottle. With many of its apparently valuable and indispensible uses, human beings have become addicted to plastic use, be it the single-use or disposable ones.
With widespread use of plastic, little do we care about the severe environmental pollution it causes due to plastic waste. Plastic use first made its appearance in the 50s and till the 70s the amount of waste produced was manageable. But, in the next two decades the waste generated due to havoc use of plastic literally tripled and in the early years of the present century, production of plastic waste surpassed that in the last four decades. From the given statistics, it is clear how plastic use have become one of the biggest causes of environmental pollution and as a result causing detrimental effect on natural and natural habitat.
How does plastic cause environmental pollution?
An estimated amount of 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since 1950. About 60% of those plastic have been used either in landfill or for other purpose. However, there are some more worrying trends of plastic use.
Plastic is produced faster than any other material since 1950 and in the last decade there has been a shift from durable plastic production to single-use plastic goods. Almost all plastic goods are made of chemicals and petrochemical ingredients viz. natural gas, oil and coal. Such substances are non-renewable and add to the filth accumulation of earth as the global population increases. Some of the single use plastic products that have become indispensible in our daily lives such as- PET water bottles, dispensing containers, shampoo bottles, ice-cream containers, carry bags, trays, microwave dishes, bottle caps, cutlery sets, cups, protective packaging and many other things. When the natural environment and habitat of an area is affected by accumulation of plastic waste, the condition is termed as plastic pollution. Such wastes are known as plastic pollutants as they cause water, soil and air pollution. Plastic wastes whether found in groundwater or under the soil, remain unsoiled for centuries.
Commercial fishing adds to environmental pollution
This is one of the biggest causes of environmental pollution in present times. Fishing is a major source of livelihood and the fishing nets used are made of plastic. While fishing the nets are submerged in water. As a result they often leak toxins that are mixed with water. When the nets are lost or break, they add more pollution to river or sea water.
The world wakes up
The good news is developing countries like India, Vietnam, China and others are waking up to the problem and adopting various policies to reduce use of plastic that include use of bio-degradable plastic and banning of certain plastic products outright. On the World Environment Day, the UN calls for taking concrete measures to #BeatPlasticPollutionand you can start doing your bit from today!