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Our oceans are filled with plastic; this is because plastic is everywhere. We all use endless amounts of plastics daily at home, work, schools, and everywhere else under the sun. This is one of the main problems going relatively unchecked in society.
While the idea of single-use items is nice, due to being able to be completely not burdened by the product after use, it is downright nonsensical for single-use products to be plastic-based. It is not sustainable at all. This is because plastics last for thousands of years; placed within the context of our lifetimes this is forever! A look at our oceans shows that we are beginning to pay the price of our societal obsession with plastic. Our oceans are a prime example.
Thousands of pounds of plastics make their way into our oceans daily. Some of this is deliberate, which is the case with littering or waste management services inadequately dealing with rubbish that ultimately finds its way into our aquatic ecosystems. Some plastic waste ends up in our ocean by accident. This is applicable to the metric tons of waste that were sucked into the ocean during the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan.
Plastic in the oceans is especially dangerous for multiple reasons. When plastics initially enter our oceans, they are dangerous to animals. Some animals suffer physical injuries from coming into contact with plastic items. Other animals eat plastic items, leading to malnutrition and often death. As plastics stick around, they begin to break down. This is due to being exposed to the elements like sunlight, rain, and wind. This corrosion ends up leaking a lot of toxic chemicals into the environment. These plastic additives tend to be harmless while plastic is intact but are extremely dangerous on their own. Things like carcinogens to other chemicals that are just toxic begin to harm wildlife. This wreaks havoc on marine life which is extremely sensitive to what is in the water. These chemicals end up moving their way up the food chain, ultimately contaminating our own food. A University of Newcastle study estimates that humans ingest an amount of plastic equivalent to a credit card every week!
Similar to our problem with emissions, plastic is a global issue. We are all consumers of plastic so we all need to address the issue. Many cite that most polluting waste is released by a few nations, some developing. This is misleading. Many modern nations export their garbage to these nations and many corporations sell non-sustainable products in these markets as well. This is everyone’s issue.
We cannot lose a step in the fight against plastic. We cannot forget about plastics once we throw them away. We cannot forget about plastics once they’ve degraded our ocean water. We must be conscious and intentional about changing our lifestyles for a better tomorrow. Join Physis today to help the cause.
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