Environment

Earth’s Malignant Cancer is Plastic.

Erin Gordon

Plastic products are taking over Earth like a plague. Plastic is a non-biodegradable byproduct of oil that is very cheap to produce, and easily polluting our world. Humans need to turn to eco-friendly products in order to try and cut plastic out of our lives. 

It is time to do away with plastics in the world. About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually across the globe. That’s nearly 2 million every minute. Most of this plastic doesn’t make it into the correct recycling plant. More than half a billion plastic straws are used every day around the world. Of the 260 million tons of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the Ocean.

 There is a patch of ocean, the size of Texas, called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is a gigantic floating trash pile of marine debris particles in the north central Pacific Ocean.

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Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is actually comprised of the Western Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California.

According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, and as much as 80 percent of that litter is plastic. It is estimated that up to 13 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year—the equivalent of a rubbish or garbage truck load’s worth every minute. 

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Photo Courtesy of Chris Jordan

Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and other marine mammals can become entangled in or ingest plastic  debris, causing suffocation, starvation, and drowning. Humans are not immune to this threat: While plastics are estimated to take up to hundreds of years to fully decompose, some of them break down much quicker into tiny particles, which in turn end up in the seafood we eat.

What can you do?

Eco-friendly, all natural products ensure safety from all dangerous chemicals, and allows families to avoid risky additives that can cause any of these issues. Using eco-friendly products improves quality of life in terms of mortality, age, diseases, and illnesses. They ensure the safety of families and the planet.

By using more environmentally safe products, we reduce pollution and contamination of the natural resources such as the air, water, and soil. This Eco-friendly concept will reduce our expenses. Utilizing recycled materials or selecting materials from natural materials generally have fewer chemicals.

Swapping to environmentally safe, green products in really simple for any individual who wishes to contribute to the sustainability of environment and do their share of the sustainability of the environment. By using more environmentally safe products, we reduce pollution and contamination of the natural resources such as the air, water, and soil.

A normal household use a wide variety of product containing harmful toxic chemicals, such as furniture cleaners and polishes, air fresheners, glass and tile cleaners, toilet cleaners, detergent, dishwashers, carpet cleaners, soap and the list goes on and on. 

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Photo Courtesy of Eco Products

The green thing to do for our house is to switch form products that contain harmful chemicals such as Phthalates, Perchloroethylene/PERC, Ammonia, Chlorine, and any other products that state “Warning Danger Caution, or Poison ” on them to products that contain natural ingredients such as Baking soda, Beeswax, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and products labeled “no phosphates or solvents.” There are a number of cleaning products available in the market today labeled eco-friendly. 

Why is plastic such a common product?

Plastic is strong, lightweight, and moldable, plastics are used in thousands of products that add comfort, convenience, and safety to our everyday lives. Plastics in carpets, blankets, and pillows keep us comfortable in our homes.

Plastics in bottles and coolers allow us to take food and drinks with us anywhere. Plastics in portable electronic devices let us access the Internet or communicate with family and friends on the go. Plastics in sports players’ helmets and police officers’ bullet-proof vests keep them safe. 

Plastic windows and other building parts can filter UV rays in order to keep buildings cool in the summer while also locking in heat to keep them warm in winter. This means it takes less money and energy to keep our homes and workplaces comfortable, which contributes to massive savings every year and a reduced environmental footprint.

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Photo Courtesy of Tim Fanshawe/©Marine Conservation Society

 This is the paradox of plastic, or at least our current obsession with it: learning about the scale of the problem moved us to act, but the more we push against it, the more it begins to seem just as boundless and intractable as all the other environmental problems we have failed to solve. And it brings us up against the same obstacles: unregulatable business, the globalized world, and our own unsustainable way of life.

Yet, people still want to take plastic on. And they should. Despite the odds, the anti-plastic movement has become perhaps the most successful worldwide environmental campaign to emerge since the turn of the century. 

What is plastic’s future?

If governments are held to their commitments, and the movement maintains its momentum, it will have an effect. “It’s a big deal,” Steve Zinger, a chemicals industry analyst with the US firm Wood Mackenzie, told me. “Particularly this year, consumer anti-plastic sentiment has grown. Companies will have to adapt their business models to the new realities of plastic bans.” He noted that petroleum producers would also see a loss in demand.

This is the other, positive side of the paradox of plastic. If plastic is a microcosm of all of our other environmental problems, then following that logic, so are the solutions. In just a few short years, scientific evidence of the environmental damage done by plastic has spurred people to organize, pressured governments to regulate, and even been noticed by fossil fuel corporations.

Customers asked for less packaging at the supermarket, and within a year BP was predicting that, as a result, by 2040 the industry would be producing 2m fewer barrels of oil per day. 

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Photo Courtesy of Mark Heald

Our obsession with plastic has registered. In the much larger battle over climate change, the plastic backlash could end up being a small but energizing victory, a model for future action.

This means facing up to how interconnected the problems are: to recognize that plastic isn’t just an isolated problem that we can banish from our lives, but simply the most visible product of our past half-century of rampant consumption. Looking at biodegradable options are necessary and reducing your carbon footprint are important.

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