plastic pollution accumulation of man-made plastic goods in the environment to the point where they endanger human populations, wildlife, and their ecosystems. There are so many plastic items made by people in the domain that they threaten both people and animals and their ecosystems.
The Plastics and the Environment series is a group of online resources that talk about the plastics crisis, how it affects people and the environment, and how different countries are working together to solve this global problem. The Geneva Environment Network put together this series, which includes resources and news from organizations in Geneva and elsewhere, such as UN-system organizations and other IOs, government authorities, civil society organizations, academic institutions and journals, and well-known newspapers. The page gives an overview of the many problems that come with plastic pollution. By clicking on the “In Focus” buttons, you can get more information and resources for each section.
Cause of plastic pollution
- Plastic is cheap and readily available, and its use is widespread. …
- The world’s population is growing — and so is urbanization. …
- We have a disposable mentality when it comes to plastic. …
- Plastic takes over 400 years to decompose. …
- Marine shipping and fishing industries.
How does plastic affect the environment?
Plastic is all around us. Plastic is used in so many things, from soda bottles to cars, fishing gear to clothes, and everything in between, that it’s not surprising that it has an effect on the environment. Plastic has many benefits when used properly, but we use it too much. Here are 5 ways that plastic is bad for the environment and 5 reasons why you should try to get rid of as much plastic waste as you can.
ways that plastic is bad for the environment
1. plastic pollution Kills ocean life
You’ve probably heard by now that oceans and other bodies of water are full of plastic trash. Plastic trash gets into the oceans through rivers, beaches, and boats. All kinds of ocean animals, from sea turtles to sharks to fish and everything in between, are affected by this plastic trash. Animals get caught in or stuck in nets or bottles that people have thrown away, choke on plastic trash, eat plastic because they think it is food, and do a lot more. When these animals die, the ecosystems in which they are important to start to die, too.
Plastic pollution is bad for the environment because it kills marine animals and destroys their homes. You may have heard about ocean garbage patches, which are huge piles of plastic that stretch for thousands of miles and hold tonnes of trash. Ocean currents keep microplastic beads, which are very small pieces of plastic, in place in these areas. Most animals can’t live in or cross these places, and they now cover huge parts of the ocean.
When ocean ecosystems die, it doesn’t just hurt the ocean. This also causes disasters for people, such as starvation, overheating, widespread erosion of land, and more.
Averagely, refillable water and ice stations divert 250,000 plastic bottles per location, or about 500 million bottles a year across the whole network.
2. plastic pollution kills terrestrial Wildlife
Land animals are also killed by plastic, which is also bad for the environment. Just like animals that live in the water, animals that live on land haven’t changed to deal with pollution in the ocean. Many of the same things that happen to ocean animals also happen to them. Again, this has a domino effect on ecosystems, which need all of their parts to work well, from plants to bugs to the top predators. As they die out, the ecosystem gets weaker and smaller.
Even though scientists are still trying to figure out how plastic affects plant life, early tests show that plastic hurts plant growth. This has an effect not only on the ecosystems around us, which store carbon and give off oxygen but also on our ability to grow food and feed animals.
3. REQUIRES SPACE
Keeping plastic trash in one place is hard, especially when you consider how much plastic trash is made every day. Every year, people around the world throw away 380 million metric tonnes of plastic. It’s hard to even think about how big that number is: there are about 95 metric tonnes of plastic in every square mile of the United States.
Only a small part of the problem is the weight of plastic. Most plastic waste is light, but it takes up a lot of space. This is a bigger problem than the fact that plastic waste takes up a lot of space. Most people don’t want to live near landfills, so moving plastic waste far away and making wildlife habitats even smaller is often the only way to find space for it. This is another way that plastic is bad for the world.
This problem could be solved by recycling, it seems. But 90% of trash made from plastic is either buried or burned. Plastic makers ran misleading campaigns that made people think that plastic could be recycled well, which isn’t true. It costs a lot more to recycle plastic, there aren’t many ways to use recycled plastic, and it can only be used once or twice. The best thing to do is just not use any plastic that will end up in the trash.
4. plastic Produce Chemical Pollution
Pollution is another way that plastic is bad for the environment. Oil and gas are used to make most plastics. Mining these nonrenewable resources makes harmful chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and many more.
Since there is no place to store plastics, much of the world either burn them or tries to recycle them. Both of these things put dangerous chemicals into the air, which are bad for people and the environment.
5. BRINGS MICROPLASTICS TO LIFE
“Plastics don’t break down” is probably something you’ve heard before. This is partly true. Plastics don’t break down as organic materials do. Paper, cotton, hemp, and many other organic materials break down into nontoxic substances. In a way, plastics do break down. When they do, they become much smaller pieces of plastic, which are now called “microplastics.” These can be as big as a pebble or smaller than a single cell.
Now, you can find microplastics almost everywhere. Small particles like these get into waterways, soil, plants, animals, and even people. New research is being done on the effects of microplastics. Scientists have found that microplastics affect the quality of the soil, the microbes that live in it, and the tiny insects that break down organic matter. Larger animals are also hurt by microplastics in many ways, like when they damage their DNA, slow their growth, hurt their reproductive organs, and more.
Flame retardants and chemical stabilizers, which are added to plastics, also get washed away as microplastics break down. Most likely, we won’t know much about the full effects of microplastics for many years.