Plastic has been found from the depth of the Mariana Trench to the top of Mount Everest. Is Earth a living planet or a plastic planet?
We produce 335 million metric tons of plastic per year with more than 8 million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean. Its consequences go far beyond one’s imagination.
The world’s ocean contains about 51 trillion microplastics which is 500 times more than stars of the milky way galaxy. There will be more plastics in the oceans than fish by 2050 and 99 per cent of all the seabirds will have consumed those plastics.
Plastic kills the sea creatures and it is likely killing ourselves as we consume so much of them on a daily basis. Plastic fibres can penetrate cells and tissues of marine wildlife. They can make their way into even tiny organs.
Plastics and Climate Change
The plastic production is intrinsically linked to climate change. Six per cent of global oil is consumed for producing plastics and six kilograms of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere for every kilogram of plastic created. A plastic drink bottle comes with 0.4 of a kg of carbon emissions. When plastics break down, they give off powerful greenhouse gases. They change our climate and weather pattern.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, about 92.6 million tonnes of plastics were caught worldwide in 2015. Last year, the Nepalese Army launched a campaign to clean up roughly 10,000 kilograms (22,046 pounds) of waste from the Sagarmatha National Park.
What Can We Do?
We can replace single-use plastics with reusable items. By knowing which plastics your local recycling company accepts you can avoid purchasing plastic items that you can’t recycle. And most importantly, companies should make their products and package sustainable. Plastic pollution isn’t a problem where we don’t know the solution, we all know how to pick up the garbage. We know how to reuse, reduce and recycle.
Only an individual’s effort can not solve this plastic waste disaster but can be definitely solved if all individuals jointly make an effort. Although cleaning up of the plastic-covered planet is an intimidating task, at least we can stop adding more to this existing mess by avoiding plastic use.
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