The Silent Killer: Plastic, here is everything you need to know
We are in a situation where the war must be won. The fight is between our lives and our comfort, the fight is between our economy and our ecosystem, the fight is between our earth and the cheap plastic pieces. We all know Plastic is a silent killer. But are we really doing something about this alarming situation?
On average, an American uses 109 kgs of plastic every year, and less than a one-fifth of the used plastic is recycled. Plastic production was started almost six decades ago, and since then, we have produced enough of it that it makes a sum of 8.3 billion metric tonnes in total. The scariest fact is that only 9 percent of plastic is recycled, and nearly 9 million tonnes of its waste goes into the oceans. A report by National Geographic says, only 10 rivers transport 90% world’s ocean plastic waste.
From where the world’s plastic comes from?
40 percent of world plastic comes from packaging only, which never goes for recycling. The packaging industry alone produces 161 million tonnes of plastic. Since the year 2000, the world has produced 44 percent of all plastic ever manufactured. Asia takes half responsibility for producing nearly 50 percent of the world plastic, in which China considerably takes the largest share of 29 percent. Wants more? Here is another strangulating fact. In every fifteen minutes, a million beverage plastic bottles are being sold. An American in 2015 bought 346 bottles, that makes 111 billion in total.
Plastic and the Oceans
The beaches are amazing! They the best edges to enjoy the sunsets and seeing the tides and ocean. But, what if the tides bring a pile of plastic trash and throw it over the beach?
Well, Plastic is a major reason for ocean pollution. Every year 9 million tonnes of plastic waste goes into the ocean. By 2050, oceans will have more plastic than fishes. What makes it worse is, seabirds, turtles and other marine creatures are consuming 99 percent of some of the plastic waste. A report says, there is 500 times more microplastic in our ocean than stars in our galaxy. China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand dump more plastic than all countries combined.
How sea life is getting affected?
Plastic is killing the oceans and marine creatures too. Some animals are getting stuck in nets and some eat it considering plastic pieces as their food. Annually more than 400,000 marine mammals are being killed by plastic in the oceans. Plastic debris was found in the stomach of whales, turtles, sharks and even sea birds. In March 2019, a dead washed up Cuvier’s Beaked Whale was found dead in the Philippines with 88lbs of plastic inside its stomach. In the same year in April another Sperm whale was found dead with 48 pounds of plastic in its stomach on the shore of Sardinia. An estimated, 1200 to 2400 tonnes of plastic debris and small pieces are consumed by marine mammals and sea birds.
Recently a video of a biologist went viral on the YouTube and crossed 20 million views, in which he is trying to pull out 4 inches long straw from a turtle’s nose. Every year many marine creatures are getting sick and dying by consuming plastics or getting trapped.
The bottom Line
Plastics are produced with blessings, they can live 450 years to eternity, and that’s a curse for mankind and nature. Plastic is durable, pliable, cheap, easy to produce and has become a part of our daily life. We are surrounded by plastic with almost everything, from the clothes we wear, the shoes, groceries, cosmetics, household goods, beverages, water bottles, electronics to automobiles, plastic has involved in our life like toppings on Pizza. Perhaps, plastic use can’t be utterly ignored, but it can be challenged. We must stop single use of plastic and throwing it away, our dustbins don’t take them to recycle factories, instead, they are travelling to the oceans. Recycling plastic waste is still a major subject of concern to the world, as only 9 percent of plastic is being recycled. A huge part of plastic we throw is getting dumped into the oceans and making an entire man-made Continent of plastics.
Climate change issues can be deniable, but the fact that oceans are becoming the final destination of world plastic can’t be ignored.
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