The negative effects of plastic pollution are all long term. Undoubtedly, plastic is killing our planet! Plastic is wrecking havoc on the health of well beings of humans and wildlife.
According to National Geographic, 91% of plastic never makes it to the recycling bin. Instead of being reused again, these items are filling up landfills and our oceans. That’s not the extent of its damage.
So, before you even think about tossing the plastic in the trash, you’re already dealing with the impacts. It’s hurting your health while it’s killing the planet.
Keep reading to learn the dark side of plastic and understand its negative effects.
Where Plastic Comes From
Where plastic comes from is a problem, all on its own. Oil and gas are the main sources. When those inevitably run out, scientists will look elsewhere for another resource to create the overused material.
It’s difficult to imagine a world without plastic. In fact, we can find the synthetic material everywhere, including the places we least expect. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that large scale manufacturing and usage began.
Even after years of discussing the negative effects of plastic, it hasn’t decreased.
Companies and people continue to use it every day from cups, takeout boxes, utensils, packaging, bubble wrap, coffee cups, bottles, straws, to much more.
The mass production of plastic began sixty years ago, since then it has been produced 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Single-use plastic blames for most of that number. What started as something that made life easier for humans has instead made it worse for your health and home planet.
Negative Effects of Plastic on the Environment
It seems like everywhere you look, there’s viral content of how plastic is ruining our environment. Whereas straws are killing turtles, some beaches are covered in more plastic than sand, and the garbage islands are floating around the ocean. It’s safe to say, there’s more everyone can do to eliminate the common denominator.
In fact, plastic is responsible for the deaths of 100,000 sea turtles and birds annually. These things happen because of accidental ingestion and entanglement. As if that isn’t bad enough and the negative effects of plastic don’t end there.
What hasn’t made its way into a marine creature’s mouth has broken up into little pieces? We can find some of which throughout the sea column. They’re releasing toxins they soaked up before ever entering the ocean.
As it sits in the water, it releases chemicals into the ocean and the atmosphere as well. This alone puts fish living there at risk of contamination. Although, this may not seem like a problem for you right now, but until you find yourself sick from eating one of those or drinking contaminated water yourself.
How Plastics Affect Your Health
The negative effects of plastic occur during every stage of its life cycle. And most of it is created with fossil fuels. The extraction leads to water and air pollution and direct impacts from increased traffic and pipeline construction.
Some studies suggest that plastic contains cancer-causing compounds. These compounds and other toxins can be difficult to recognize because they’re colorless and odorless. Particularly, the refinery workers at a greater risk of being exposed to these toxic compounds.
Even if you don’t eat fish or drink unfiltered water, your health is being attacked by plastic. We know certain types of plastic for being toxic. Furthermore, plastic has been linked to certain types of cancers, hormone disruptions, birth defects, childhood developmental issues, and other health concerns.
We can find microplastics in everyday items and ingredients, like sea salt. Ingesting plastic can lead to it being found in your stools. A 2018 study revealed that up to 50% of the world population could have microplastics in stools.
Even baby bottles and pacifiers are a risk. Always check the label and do your research before buying something made from plastic for you and your family. When you know the damage it can cause, you know better than to risk your health and that of our environment with plastic products.
How You Can Help
The best thing you can do is reduce the amount of plastic you use. It’s contaminating the food chain and water supplies, its compounds are hiding our health, and marine life is being killed off by single-use plastics.
But, you can make a difference, beginning in your own home. Breaking bad habits is never easy, but it’s possible. Here are some ways you can help:
- Eliminate using single-use items in your home
- Start using reusable bottles and containers
- Replace microbeads products with natural exfoliants, like salt and sugar
- Upcycle products to reduce waste
- Purchase in bulk
- Shop with reusable containers for zero packaging
- Support bag taxes and add pressure to politicians
Since plastic is non-biodegradable, it won’t be disappearing on its own anytime soon. The problem will continue to grow and worsen, but you can help by changing your lifestyle.
The healthier the lifestyle you lead, the more you’ll want to eliminate plastic. For instance, being outdoors and in nature will help you feel closer and more protective of the world. You can start today by creating your plan for health.
The initial investment to lead a plastic-free lifestyle may seem like too much, but plastic is costing you time and money. By switching to reusable items, you’ll save your wallet and your health from being attacked by the synthetic material.
There is a growing problem around the globe. We might consider plastic synthetic material, but it’s surely causing a visible problem that can’t be ignored. It’s covering shorelines, polluting the air and water, and contaminating the food chain.
In addition, we can find the negative effects of plastic all around. They have linked it to the loss of animal and human lives. The more that’s produced and tossed aside, the greater the risk to Earth and everyone on it.
Keep reading our blog to learn more about leading a happier and healthier lifestyle.
- Parker, Laura. "A whopping 91% of plastic isn't recycled." National Geographic,20Dec.2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/
- Bienkowski, Brian. "Plastic threatens our health from before production to long after it’s thrown away: Report." Environmental Health News, https://www.ehn.org/plastic-pollution-and-human-health-2629322391.html
- Harvey Fiona, Watts Jonathan. "Microplastics found in human stools for the first time." The Guardian, 22 Oct. 2018,https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/22/microplastics-found-in-human-stools-for-the-first-time
- Cobb, Cynthia. "Which Natural Exfoliants Work Best for Your Face and Body?."healthline, 29 Oct. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-exfoliant
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