5th of June has been set apart yearly to mark world’s environment day, 2018 advocacy day focuses on “Beat Plastic Pollution”. Earth’s physical environment consists of parts that include purely physical factors as soil, climate, and water supply.
Effects of plastic pollution
As I walk down our streets on different occasions, what I observe littering our cities and water ways most times are waste from plastics and their byproducts. I feel so pained when I observed the amount of deposits of these waste that accumulate inside many open drainages along major roads in our cities, revealing the level at which human beings are causing damages to our physical environment. Environmentalists say all plastics bags below 60 microns are unsuitable. They are carelessly disposed of and end up blocking drainage systems, which in turn can lead to flooding. A lot of communities in our cities suffer severe flooding during rainy seasons, which causes unnecessary damage to properties and in most cases loss of lives and livelihood.
Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. Currently, it is estimated that there are 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world.
Combustion of plastic in open air leads to environmental pollution due to the release of poisonous chemicals. The polluted air when inhaled by humans and animals affect their health and can cause respiratory problems.
When animals in the ocean eat pieces of plastic waste deposited in the water, the toxins are absorbed into their body and passed up the food chain. As plastics break apart in the ocean, they also release potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), which can then enter the food web.
What can be done?
Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that our plastic wastes are well disposed of, and that we encourage people around us to develop the habit of proper waste disposal. Alternatively, by turning bottles, packaging and other plastic refuse into new goods, recycling helps the environment and creates new economic opportunities. If possible, it is better to adopt the reusable bags.
Also, we can speak to lawmakers and let them come up with laws that can effectively manage plastics.