Plastic pollution is the introduction of plastic materials into the environment which have a negative effect on ecosystems and cause health concerns Plastic pollution is a global issue, with the majority of plastic waste coming from the developed world. It not only affects the environment, but also poses a threat to human health, marine life and biodiversity, and the economy in both developed and developing countries.
Plastic is a material that is used for a range of purposes, from packaging to equipment and furniture, and it is getting increasingly abundant in the environment. It is estimated that around 8 million tons of plastic waste is deposited in the oceans each year and about 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die each year from plastic pollution. This is an indicator of how dangerous plastic pollution can be and how serious the consequences can be.
Example 1: Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are one of the most common examples of plastic pollution. They are used to transport groceries, food and other items, but unfortunately, many of them end up in the environment, particularly in marine and coastal areas where they are ingested by marine life, often with fatal consequences. Moreover, discarded plastic bags can remain in the environment for several years, contributing to the ever-increasing amount of plastic waste.
Example 2: Microplastics
Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic that have been broken down over time by the sun, water, and other environmental factors. They can be found virtually everywhere in the environment, from the ocean floor to the soil and even in the air. Microplastics are very dangerous for marine life, as they are easily ingested and lead to adverse health effects.
Example 3: Fishing Gear
Fishing gear, such as nets and fishing lines, are also a common source of plastic pollution. Every year, a significant amount of discarded fishing gear ends up in the ocean, where it continues to fish for marine life and entangle animals, which in turn, can lead to their death. These ghost nets are also very difficult to remove from the water, due to their size and weight, making them a major source of plastic pollution.
Example 4: Water Bottles
Plastic water bottles are another common example of plastic pollution. Due to their lightweight and portability, many of them end up in the environment, particularly in coastal and marine areas where they can leach toxic chemicals into the water and harm marine life. They also take up to 450 years to degrade, making them one of the most significant sources of plastic pollution.
Example 5: Litter
Litter is also a major contributor to plastic pollution. Whether it is cigarettes, food wrappers, containers, or any other type of packaging, these items can easily find their way into the environment and contribute to the amount of plastic waste. Discarded items can leach toxins into the water, significantly impacting the health of marine life and ecosystems.