02 Mar A Plastic Problem
The reason for a blog on plastic is simple. When I learned that there are more pieces of plastic in the ocean than there are stars in the milky way Galaxy, I was literally mind boggled. I have always thought about stars as this infinite incomprehensible number, and to think that we are faced with a far bigger figure right here On Earth with plastic is a pretty scary thought. If you’re like me than you’ve never really thought about what happens beyond throwing your garbage away in the trash, it being collected by garbage trucks and end of story. Wrong! That’s not the end of story, only the beginning. The use of plastic has gotten so out of control that in order to meet demand we have produced more plastic in the last Ten years than we did in the last Century (100 years)!!!! Insane!
I get it! Plastic has many benefits of usage. From the convenience of take out food containers, water bottles, storing food in Ziplocs, carrying your groceries, grabbing your clothes at the laundry in plastic, buying groceries packaged in plastic to prevent spoilage, cheaper baby bottles and the list goes on. The benefits of plastic are unmatched by any other material according to the society of plastics industry and I might have to agree. Plastic is light, easily shaped, strong and cheap! It also employees over 885,000 people in the United states.
Its 2020, not only is it more obvious than ever that our very own actions to attain convenience are a threat to this planet. I once heard that if you remove nature humanity will die, but if you remove human’s nature will thrive.
Everything in life is bout balance. Yin and Yang. What we’re seeing here with plastic is that we’ve tipped the scale and are now going downhill. I’m starting to see a correlation here, the same way we wait for disease to strike before we act towards improving our health is the same way we have tipped the scale long enough to now start seeing the effects.
This is what tipping the scale looks like:
- The largest population, China produced the largest quantity of plastic, at nearly 60 million tons. This was followed by the United States at 38 million tons, Germany at 14.5 million tons and Brazil at 12 million tons a year.
- 38 Billion water bottles are thrown away each year in the U.S alone. This averages out to about 120 bottles a person.
- Almost every piece of plastic ever made is still lingering on the planet!!
- Scientist estimate that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans worldwide
I’ve realized that the problem really isn’t how much plastic were using, the real issue here is that we have created a product that is “disposable” but really isn’t disposable. How could a disposable product be made of a material that is indestructible?
Disposable for us, but not for our Earth. This is causing a wealth of problems not only on our soil, the Oceans, Marine Life, greenhouse gasses and the list goes on.
Did you know that water bottles can take up to ONE THOUSAND YEARS to decompose!!!! Read that again because I didn’t say 1,000 years to dissolve, I said decompose. That’s correct! Plastic does not dissolve, so what happens is it will take hundreds to thousands of years to break down, and then it breaks down into bits and pieces called microplastics. Microplastics are all forms of plastics that is less than 5mm in length. You might ask, well why are microplastics as much as a problem as full-size plastic and here’s the reason. Overtime the Sun’s ultraviolet light, salt water and the violent water activities break up plastics into smaller pieces called microplastic. These pieces are often confused for food by all sea life from turtles to whales, fish and even sea birds! Eating these plastics now counting by the millions. Guess what! Ocean life and birds aren’t the only ones eating this junk. So are we! According to a study published in Environmental pollution The average person eats 70,000 microplastics each year.
These microplastics have chemicals from industry and agriculture making them toxic poison pills. We’re not only eating something toxic, it also doesn’t digest. A study was conducted at the University of California where they found plastic and fibers in 25% of the fish sold in Indonesian and California markets. Next time you’re out dining don’t be surprised to find microplastic in your food. But also remember, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean its not there.
On top of this 90% of all sea birds have swallowed plastic at some point in their lives.
Now that we are so far past tipping the scale the U.S and other countries have established laws to help reduce significantly the use of plastic. Starting on March 1st, 2020 in NY, all plastic carryout bags re-banned from distribution by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. … The law will affect anyone required to collect New York State sales tax, bag manufacturers and consumers. Cities and counties will also be involved.
Eight states such as—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont—have banned single-use plastic bags.
We are facing a global challenge where you simply have the power with your everyday decisions to reduce or even eliminate the use of plastic. There are many alternative options and the power of choice does make a difference in a BIG way!
Think about your next shopping experience and all of the plastic bags you bring home with you. We likely almost immediately throw it away.
Reducing bag usage can reduce harmful impacts to oceans, rivers, lakes, forests and the wildlife that inhabit them. It can also alleviate pressure on landfills and waste management.
What do you know? The age long model that goes: Be the change you wish to see in the world. Well its true!
Some of the things you can do immediately are…
- When grocery shopping take with you reusable bags to carry your groceries home. Or even while shopping in the mall reduce the use plastic and support the stores that use paper bags. (Plastic grocery bags also take up to 1,000 years to decompose)
- Buy a reusable water bottle vs using several water bottles a day to only throw them away.
- Demand change when you’re at restaurants using plastic. Request paper items or other alternatives.
- Stop using straws.
- Avoid usage of microbeads that are found in cosmetics like face and body wash.
- Use Bamboo or wood toothbrush instead of plastic.
Knowledge and awareness are two very powerful tools. I had some idea that plastic isn’t good for the environment but never understood how deep the rabbit hole went. I know changing our habits doesn’t come easy, nor doesn’t come fast. But with that knowledge and awareness comes effort. Because from knowing comes caring and from caring comes change.
Think reusable not disposable!
Miss Rehab Ramdass
Disclaimer: Miss Rehab Ramdass website, blog, social media and videos should not be construed as medical advice. Content from this site and blog are not intended to be used as a medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.