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The problem of plastic pollution has been growing enormously during the last two decades. Millions of tons of plastic debris are found in our oceans every year. We are finding plastic waste on shorelines all over the world, with most of them being at popular tourist places and areas where there is more population. Scientific studies show plastic pollution is affecting the marine environment. It is a severe threat to marine life, a leading cause of climate change, and a danger to human health as well.
But are we taking sufficient steps to control the rising plastic pollution?
Worldwide, experts claim recycling plastic is the best solution to save our earth. But is that really the remedy for a problem of such magnitude?
Though recycling plastic is a good step towards saving our earth from plastic pollution, but it is not a permanent solution. In reality, recycling is distracting us from the real problem. The truth is that motivating people to recycle plastic will not solve the issue of the large scale production of single-use plastic, the root cause of this problem. Producers do not realize the harm they are causing the environment by using modern technology to produce tons of single-use plastic.
Studies show that single-use plastic items, such as the grocery bags we use, can last for decades in the environment. Most people are not even aware that most of the plastic actually degrades after recycling. For example, plastic bottles are recycled into non-recyclable items like synthetic clothes.
Experts say that since plastic biodegrades gradually, it is a serious hazard to wildlife since there is always a danger of entanglement or consumption. Fishes, turtles, whales, and other marine animals mistakenly consume plastic debris, assuming it is food. Such ingestion also causes internal injuries and infections, and in many cases, reduces their swimming abilities. Additionally, plastic also spreads harmful bacteria and other marine organisms that can harm ecosystems. Research is ongoing to verify if contaminants can transfer to humans through seafood consumption.
In many of the world’s oceans, experts have been discovering the presence of invisible plastic. It is also present in salt, beer, and even tap water. Some of the chemicals in plastic are carcinogenic and can cause reproductive, neurological, immune, and other disorders to wildlife and humans.
Since it is a petroleum product, plastic also contributes significantly to global warming and climate change. The burning of plastic waste causes the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby adding to carbon emissions.
All these disturbing facts point out that it is an urgent necessity to put a stop to plastic pollution. The best way to go about this is to tackle the root cause of single-use plastic production, together with recycling.
Controlling the enormous production of single-use plastic worldwide in addition to recycling is the permanent solution for curbing the rapidly growing plastic pollution. Producers of plastic should be made to feel responsible for their contribution to pollution. Instead of blaming consumers for the current plastic crisis, we should focus on the system that allows such massive production of single-use plastic.
Instead of plastic, governments should encourage the production of sustainable packing materials. They should discourage plastic use by levying a deposit on plastic bottles and a non-refundable charge on plastic bags. Manufacturers should be made more accountable for reuse and recycling.
We need more organizations like Plastic Collectors, who have been proactive in reducing plastic pollution throughout the world. Plastic Collectors has been motivating people to help reduce plastic pollution by collecting plastic waste while also helping them earn money along the process.
The organization pays these collectors more than the market price, thereby motivating them to collect more plastic. Through their sincere efforts, Plastic Collectors have raised the living standards for numerous disadvantaged people. Such people are getting an opportunity to sell their collected plastic waste and earn money to buy essential items and provide their children with education.