The Plastic Dilemma

Don Bosco Green Alliance

August 11, 2018

Treating our environment or nature as our home, was something taught to us back in school.

For most of us, the thought of nature would conjure up images of scenic beauty, enchanting landscapes, colourful foliage, diverse wildlife in a jungle, etc. But mother nature’s true beauty exists in her diverse forms of life and the relationship between them.

Humans, being the most social animal of all, has unfortunately violated the inter-relationship factor of nature. Overusing of any product, substance, resource or material, causes harmful effects. One such material is plastic! Over the years, this topic of plastic and its overuse has created a stir among the people, leading us to realize the amount of damage that we have caused to our environment.

5th June 2018 is World Environment Day – let us get to know more about why single-use plastic is harmful and thereby pledge not to use it anymore.

The alarming rise in plastic pollution has grabbed the attention of many international organizations like the UN Environment, National Geographic, etc. Plastic has some of the most harmful effects on our environment:

  • A single plastic bag could take up to 1,000 years or even more to degrade!

  • Plastic articles thrown into the ocean do not decompose, rather they break down into smaller particles of plastic and are eaten by the marine life in the ocean thus killing them!

  • Much of the natural marine life has been destroyed due to plastic pollution!

Plastic cannot be completely eradicated, we need some amount of it in our daily lives, but we need to get rid of single-use plastics, those which do not degrade for decades! It is not possible for us to completely solve this problem, but we can try to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics as much as possible. Following are some solutions that could be adopted by us, which would not only help save nature, but would also enable us live a healthier life!

Completely give up single-use plastics like, plastic straws, disposable cups, plates, etc. Increase the awareness in your neighbourhoods regarding problems caused by single-use plastics. Use bio-degradable products like cloth bags, reusable plates and cups, etc. Carry your own water bottle, do not buy packaged water that comes in plastic bottles. When you order take-away dinners or food at home, refuse the disposable plastic cutlery that comes along with it.

Marine plastic pollution has emerged as one of the most catastrophic present-day problems! It has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. The impacts include fatalities as a result of ingestion, starvation, suffocation, infection, drowning, and entanglement. Every year, we throw away enough plastic to circle the Earth four times. Much of that waste doesn’t make it into a landfill, but instead ends up in our oceans, where it’s responsible for killing one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.

The quantity of marine debris is increasing in oceans world-wide. Oceanic plastic pollution has drastically increased over the past decade, wiping out major marine habitats and ecosystems. Moreover, plastic does not degrade over the years, it breaks down into smaller particles and survives in the ocean forever.

Plastic debris is also polluting the human food chain. There are plastic components even in the food we eat which come from the disposable packaging containers and plastic boxes. More the amount of disposable plastic, more the problems of managing the litter. Completely preventing the generation of disposable plastic, could solve this plastic dilemma to some extent. Prevention is both cost-effective and better for the environment.

The time has definitely come to say NO to single-use plastic! if you can’t RESUSE it, REFUSE it!