Animals & Nature

Plastic Pollution: What is Plastic? What are the Harms of Plastic?

Plastics are polymers formed by carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and other organic or inorganic elements. Plastic can not be found readily available in the nature. The human-made plastic have many uses, for example, it has been used everywhere from industry to daily life since they were invented 100 years ago. Although people like plastic products and produce a lot of them because they are both more useful and cheaper than other products, plastic has covered the whole world unexpectedly fast.

However, they wanted to get rid of plastic after it started to cover our world and harm nature and living things. But the situation got out of control and got very difficult. We have to do lots of things to fix the problem. Firstly, we should use fewer plastic items. For example, when we go to a supermarket, we should buy cotton bags instead of plastic bags or while we are drinking something, we should use glass cups instead of straws. Everything has plastic, such as the bread we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, and everything we touch. Thus, it is not easy to avoid it but this is not impossible.

Every year almost 8 million tons of waste come out. Some are burned, some are recycled but many are still on Earth. According to the results of some studies, factories are pouring their waste into the oceans; therefore, many fish eat this waste and they die. Fish live with eighty or ninety percent plastic in their body. Some microplastic particles can even block the digestive tract of fish. Microplastics smaller than a certain size can be transported deeper into the living body and accumulate in these organs. When humans consume these creatures, these microplastics can be transferred to humans. This also has the risk of creating very serious health problems. This means that plastics pose a great threat to both sea creatures and humans.

Actually, plastics have two types: macro plastics and microplastics. We just see macro plastics. Microplastics are plastics that are too small to be seen and they are more dangerous than macro plastics because everything has microplastic, like the air we breathe. Plastics disappear in hundreds or even thousands of years. Thus, we shouldn’t use more plastic. With the development of technology, we have to create alternatives to the use of plastic. One might say cotton is a good alternative but this is not true.

According to a recent study by the Danish government, making a single-use plastic bag requires so little energy and produces far lower carbon dioxide emissions compared to a reusable cotton bag, that you need to use your cotton bag 7 thousand 100 times before it would have a lower impact on the environment than the plastic bag. However, this is almost impossible. For now, there is no alternative to the plastic. So we will continue to use plastics, but there is something we can do. Many companies try to find an alternative to the plastic. We can donate them to save our future. We can also reduce the use of plastic by using less plastic or by using plastics that we can use over and over instead of single-use plastics.

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