Causes of Plastic Pollution: How to Reduce Environmental Pollution
As the world’s population is continually expanding, so does the amount of waste products that people produce. One of the most detrimental waste products often left behind by the user is from products that utilize plastic. In fact, plastic is one of the leading causes of pollution our environment faces today.
Because plastic is composed of toxic chemicals, it has the capability of creating significant damage to the earth, air, and water. Even more, once larger amounts of plastic gather together in a certain area, the quality of the environment starts to disintegrate, often resulting in problems for plants, wildlife, and the human population. This often means that plants die off and many animals face the possibility of extinction. Human health also suffers as pollution can lead to various diseases, chronic respiratory disease, and lung cancer.
Despite the obvious repercussions plastic usage can have on the environment, plastic is one of the most used materials around the world. In fact, the world produces 500 billion plastic water bottles per year with over one million plastic bottles being sold per minute. Because 91% of plastic water bottles are not being recycled, 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. This, obviously, is a serious issue when it comes to the quality and health of the environment we live in.
In order to help mitigate the effects plastic pollution has on the environment and in our lives it is vital that we learn what causes plastic pollution in the first place and how to reduce the causes of plastic pollution in our everyday lives. Only this will help save the planet we live on so that we, too, can reap the benefits that a healthy, clean environment has to offer.
Causes of Plastic Pollution
Although recycling is one of the greatest ways to reduce plastic pollution, the truth is that there are many ways in which plastic usage can seep into the environment without us realizing. Because plastic pollution can occur on a large or microscopic scale, it is essential that we learn the major contributing factors so that we, as humans, do not contribute to the problem.
Some of the top ways in which plastic pollutes our earth include:
- Trash: It may come as no surprise that landfills piled up with plastic are one of the leading causes of pollution that our environment faces today. However, you may not realize just how prominent plastic is in our everyday lives and, as such, may not realize how much you are contributing to the plastic epidemic when purchasing a product. In fact, milk cartons are even lined with plastic and nearly every product you purchase, especially kids toys are manufactured with plastic components. Every time one of these plastic bottles gets thrown away or washed down the sink, these toxic chemicals have the opportunity to harm the environment. Lastly, burning plastic is extremely toxic and dangerous for the environment and can even lead to deadly illnesses. Unfortunately, however, this is one of the ways in which many landfills get rid of the piling waste products. Lastly, even though recycling helps cut down the amount left in landfills, the truth is that it doesn’t cut down on the amount of plastic circulating in the world. That is why finding other alternatives to plastic is the most productive way to ensure the amount of pollution on the planet is reduced.
- Overuse: Plastic is one of the top materials to use in products simply because it is inexpensive and durable. Because of these factors, plastic is widely overused, especially in a world full of rapid population growth. Unfortunately, plastic does not easily decompose and, as such, easily pollutes the environment with toxic chemicals for hundreds of years after use. In fact, plastic can take more than 400 years to decompose! This means that nearly every plastic product ever used is still lingering in the environment, adding to the amount of pollution we are facing today.
- Commercial fishing: Although fishing helps the economy in many ways, the sad reality is that this industry has also been one of the leading causes of plastic pollution to begin with. In fact, large scale fishing operations typically utilize nets made of plastic. Because these nets spend long durations of time submerged in water, remnants, or even larger pieces of plastic, can leak toxins into the water. Furthermore, plastic waste can wash up onto the shore, polluting not only the water but the land, too. Lastly, many marine animals can get trapped in nets and/or consume toxic, plastic particles, endangering marine life and the quality of our seafood, as well.
- Nature: Natural disasters, like floods, can significantly increase the amount of plastic pollution in the world. Furthermore, because plastic is very light it can easily be moved from one area to another by winds or rain. This is one reason why plastic can easily end up into streams, rivers, and oceans.
How to Reduce the Causes of Plastic Pollution
Because plastic pollution’s major contributor is through the use of plastic water bottles, one of the best ways to cut down your carbon footprint is to switch from using plastic water bottles to something more reusable and recyclable, like aluminum cans. In fact, unlike plastic water bottles that take 400 years to degrade, aluminum bottles can be turned into new bottles in a matter of 60 days. Furthermore, 75% of aluminum gets recycled compared to plastic bottles that only get recycled 9% of the time.
In order to protect our environment, it is essential that we do our part to reduce the amount of plastic pollution that our planet is exposed to. To do this, make the switch from plastic water bottles to aluminum bottles today.
You can make a difference in the quality of our environment, and in turn, the quality of your health today. Get the cleanest, purest, and most sustainable water on the planet and feel good about the contribution you are making to the world today.