Plastic Waste: Our Planet Is Slowly Sinking In Plastic And We’re Doing A Terrible Job Of Keeping It From Dying

Written by , Beauty & Lifestyle Enthusiast Chaitra Krishnan Beauty & Lifestyle Enthusiast Experience: 5 years

What happens to a person if you wrap a plastic cover around their head? They’ll choke and die. This is the exact same thing that’s happening to our home — the earth. And, each one of us play an important role in this murder. If you don’t believe it, just look around. How many plastic items can you see? All of these have to be disposed of somewhere, right? Even if they are not single-use plastic items, you aren’t going to save them for eternity as your family heirloom. You’ve got to throw them away someday. But guess what? They will remain for almost an eternity hidden away from plain sight. They will float around in the oceans, get dumped in landfills, and get burned — all of these actions resulting in serious environmental pollution. And the saddest part of this whole story is that we are aware of all this and yet we choose to stay mum.

We persistently devote our attention and efforts into our health, happiness, and wealth. We build good houses, send our children to the best educational institutions, open savings accounts, and join insurance policies to ensure a safe and fruitful future. But, what if there is no future for any of us? What if we’re all going to die? There is no point in purchasing pretty furniture if your house is already on fire, right? In this article, we will take a closer look at plastic pollution that has been choking mother earth and also, learn about the different ways in which we can do our part in preventing it.

How Bad Is Plastic Pollution As Of Today?

Image: Shutterstock

The plastic waste that we generate every year is a whopping 300 million tonnes! And this is almost equivalent to the weight of all the people in the world combined. This means that on an average, every person on the earth is producing plastic waste equivalent to their body weight each year. And out of all this waste, only a meager 9% has ever been recycled. About 12% was incinerated and the rest? The rest of them are still alive like scary zombies in our landfills and natural environment. Just ten rivers in this world including three from our own country (Meghna, Brahmaputra, Ganges) bring 90% of the plastic waste that ends up in the oceans. These plastic items pollute the water bodies and choke the aquatic life. And, it comes back to us at our dinner tables sooner or later, making us prone to sickness that we can’t even imagine (1).

Image: IStock

Dame Ellen MacArthur, a record-breaking sailor who has seen the oceans of the world more closely than anyone else warns the public about the horrifying situation of our water bodies. According to her, by the year 2020, our oceans will have more plastic waste than fishes! She adds that we can come up with a system by which plastic will be contained in a cycle of consumption and will not be leaked into the environment. “Linear models of production and consumption are increasingly challenged by the context within which they operate, and this is particularly true for high-volume, low-value materials such as plastic packaging,” she said in an interview with a leading news channel (2).

What Can You Do?

Image: Shutterstock

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” — Mahatma Gandhi.

If you want to save the world from plastic, you need to start the battle against it at a granular level. Stop using plastic as far as possible. Once you achieve this, you can encourage your family to follow the same and then you can urge your society in the later stages. If each one of us decides to do this, the collective effort will be enough to save our planet. But, we need to act fast and now because we don’t have too much time in hand. Here are a few things that you can do to minimize plastic waste in the environment.

  • Avoid using single-using plastic items like plastic bags, water bottles, cutlery, food packaging, plastic straws, and so on. Instead, purchase utensils and water bottles made of glass, paper, or metals. Even if a shop offers you these items, refuse to take them.
  • If you cook your own meals, you won’t need any temporary packing and you will eat healthier.
  • Purchase food from places that offer environment-friendly packaging.
  • Educate yourself and do not purchase or partner with any company that is a culprit in causing pollution.
  • Always follow the policy — reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • Avoid products containing microbeads, which are tiny particles that are found in some face scrubs, body washes, and kinds of toothpaste. These readily enter the marine life and affect it adversely.
  • Support organizations that fight against plastic pollution like Plastic Pollution CoalitionOceanic SocietyAlgalita5 Gyres, and the Plastic Soup Foundation.
  • Also, spread the word on your social media accounts and actively participate in cleaning drives and other programs that help in addressing plastic pollution.

You may wonder what change you can bring to help a universal emergency. Well, the answer is — a lot. So, instead of sleeping comfortably when the world is coming to an end, get off your ignorant butt and do something! The world needs you and it’s your choice whether to be a hero or a villain.

What changes have you made in your life to help the environment? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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