Plastic makes life for humans easier and more convenient. There are a variety of items that we use every day that contains some percentage of plastic; such as computers, cell phones, or a water bottle. Some plastic takes over 1,000 years to decompose and are leaving harmful imprints on not only the environment; however, human health. Many plastic items are only used once and then go to the dump where they will sit for an enormous about of time. As a society, we only manage to recycle about 27% of plastic bottles. After coming across this fact online the other day I decided to look more into how plastic actually affects the environment and what environmental policies there are in place currently to lessen the impact.
There are many impacts of plastic material on human health because of chemicals, such as BPA, that are being absorbed in our bodies. The Centers for Disease and Control estimated that a large amount of people have BPA in their urine samples that can be detected. Many other chemicals from plastic contaminates water used by plants, animals and humans.
Much of the plastic pollution is broken down into tiny particles, which when ingested by fish, poisons them, and then eventually travels up the food chain to humans. Birds and fish inadvertently feed on plastic that floats in the water, misinterpreting it for food. Around 32 million tons of plastic waste accumulated in 2012 – this plastic waste produces tons of chemicals that heavily affect marine animals.
To reduce the impact that plastic has on the Earth and everything that utilizes its resources there needs to be a change in not only the amount of plastic used, but also the way it is discarded. Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are the only two places in South Carolina to have some sort of ban on plastic bags, preventing them from being used by many retailers. There are some businesses, such as Trader Joe’s, offering incentives to their costumers for bringing in a reusable grocery bag. Every time a customer leaves and has brought reusable bags, they add their name to a raffle box to enter the monthly competition of winning a Trader Joe’s gift card. There are many ideas to urge people to recycle more, but we as a society just need to come together and begin the process.
Humans can reduce and recycle more, buy reusable grocery bags, pick up litter, and instead of using plastic, use alternative materials such as steel, glass, and reclaimed wood. There are many ways to switch from using plastic to alternative methods that make a huge difference.
Below is a picture with reasons why one should try and quit using plastic: