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What's the Problem with Plastic Waste - Biggest Threats, Trade-offs and Measures

nature conservation

Plastic waste is a big concern for the environment today. It is not just impacting the human settlements but is also upsetting marine life.

The problem with plastic is, it doesn’t rot, it is biologically non-degradable, and once it is produced it hangs around there for hundreds of years.

We have around 400 million tons of plastic produced each year and 40% of this is all single-use plastic. There’s no way to reuse or repurpose it. All you can do is send it to the trash and it remains there in the same form, releasing toxins and chemicals that are not good for us.

What makes it a bigger concern is our confined understanding and knowledge of plastic.

As per the 2019 stats, the global production of plastic reached over 368 million metric tons mark. By 2050, this is expected to reach around 34 billion metric tons. This is a big threat to life on earth.

As per experts, the amount of plastic in the ocean would be weighing more than the fish in the ocean by 2050. That clearly explains and appoints what level of ecological hazard it is.

The climate crisis resulting from this is going to get worse as we continue to use plastic the way we are doing now.

So, what’s the way to decline the effect of it and get rid of all this mess?

Here are some of the ways to help the environment against plastic:

 

1. Stop buying water:

reduce the use of plastic


You would be astonished to know that every year 20 billion plastic bottles are thrown into the garbage. For water, it’s always possible to carry a bottle with you and refill it anywhere on the move. Also, you can choose to get served with clean filtered water directly in glasses when you visit restaurants. You will still have fresh water and it will also save you money. This is one of the easiest first things one can do to reduce the use of plastic.

 

2. Use reusable bags:

Use reusable bags


This can be seen as a clear warning on public hoardings and message boards and the plea (heeded as a caution) that has traveled across the world many times. Many governments and agencies have already banned plastic bags as these are the major contributor to plastic pollution. But this practice can’t be totally erased without individual efforts. To get rid of this, you should build a habit to use bags made of fabric, plant fiber, or paper while also encouraging others to do so.

 

3. Avoid pre-packed fast food:

plastic waste management


With food delivery services on the rise and the culture of fast food that prevails at length, we are inviting more plastic to the world. Plastic is considered an accessible and economic source of packaging and serving food, which gets its demand high in the fast food business. Buying fast food is one of the ways you involve in the cycle of plastic production. You can play a significant part in lowering plastic use if you avoid having pre-packed fast food.

 

4. Say no to microbeads:

plastic pollution


Most of us make use of microbeads in our routine life but only a few know what it is. Well, these are solid plastic particles that are under the size of 5mm. If you are using any of the daily life products like body cleansers, exfoliators, cosmetics, or even toothpaste without checking their details, you are possibly getting exposed to microbeads in the process of using that product. These tiny plastic particles attract and absorb toxins to put a threat to health and life when used regularly. It’s only wise to rule it out from domestic use.

 

5. Avoid synthetic clothing:

global environmental change


Synthetic or cellulose-based clothing made of fleece, acrylic, or nylon release plastic fibers into the environment. This contributes to plastic pollution and disturbs nature’s cycle. Such clothes are being manufactured at scale for the last few decades and this has a huge impact on global environmental change. The good part is more people have now started seeing this as a threat to nature conservation and are choosing to be more with sustainable and organic clothing.

 

6. Sort your plastic waste:

price of plastic waste


You cannot put all the plastic waste into the dumping bags. It needs to be segregated into different parts while being disposed of. You have LDPE, which is the form of plastic you find in films, bags, containers, cables, and toys. HDPE is found in houseware and industry wrappings. Then there are Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (SAN/ABS) that you find in weather sheets, insulators, and appliances. These need to be separated before being put into the trash as it helps to handle and recycle the waste better.

 

7. Be watchful with paints:

global environmental change


Paints are one of the ways the environment gets exposed to microplastics. So, while you use or apply the paint you need to be cautious with how you treat it. Do not rinse the brush under the tap that connects to the community sewerage channel. It will all flow out there and pollute the common source. Also, collect and set out the wiped-off dust from the painted surface. These practices would help you leave the least impact on the environment with the use of paints.

 

Wrapping up:

 

Plastic is a global environmental issue. All the countries across the world are facing an upfront threat with the use of plastic. They are on their toes to fight plastic pollution and exploring ways of plastic waste management.

Since you are here, you are a part of the aware community. Take this as an opportunity to contribute to it at the ground level adopting and implementing the above set of ideas. If you are already doing it, spread the awareness. Everyone’s small act of contribution will bring the bigger change.

Know if you are contributing to plastic pollution or ecological imbalance by checking it yourself with ecological footprint calculator.

What Should I do Now?

1. Calculate your Carbon Footprint if you haven’t

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