No doubt plastic has made modern day life easier by providing multiple benefits but at the same time, it has badly affected the environment. The plastic waste sticks around in landfills and takes a lot of time to biodegrade. Other than producing harmful effects on human population, it is also putting the marine life in danger.
It is noteworthy that only 9% of plastic ever produced till date has been recycled while the remaining gets discarded in the oceans. Since a large quantity of plastic waste is dumped into the landfills, the amount of plastic bags in the waters is extremely disturbing and alarming for the life underwater.
The problem of plastic waste seems to go long way since there is no such plastic reduction been reported on larger scale. From using plastic bottles to plastic bags or even plastic food containers, its consumption is increasing at every level, causing damage to the ecosystem. From carrying groceries to your homes in a plastic bag to purchasing plastic utensils, everyone is aware of how plastic is in huge demand since forever.
Plastic or paper?
Plastic or paper – a long debate though!
Plastic is a durable and affordable material that has the capability to withstand for longer years. This is one of the many reasons of plastic being popular in each household. While paper on the other hand, breaks down easily and has shorter life span as compared to the plastic.
However, talking about the outcomes of both the materials, plastic creates huge disturbance in the ecosystem. Plastic takes 500 years to decompose and leaches into the skin and food during its degradation. Paper, on the other hand, has the natural ability to degrade, producing no such harmful effects.
A large amount of non-renewable energy and natural resources are used to produce plastic which contribute in generating greenhouse gas emission. Plastic, after a certain usage gets dissolved into microplastics which produce hazards while contaminating the surroundings.
Ways to reduce the use of plastic
· In Pakistan, many huge brands or even super stores have started introducing paper or cloth bags while demotivating the use of plastic bags. This indeed is a positive step and if people start consuming cloth bags for their regular groceries, they can collectively play their tiny proportion.
· Look for sustainable options while storing food or other items. Today, almost everything is available in sustainable packaging that is easy to recycle and reuse.
· Encourage the use of wooden toothbrush instead of the plastic ones. The wooden material has proven to be eco-friendly and also helpful in maintaining oral hygiene.
· Do not throw away those things which can be repaired. A large number of plastic accessories end up in landfills which can be overcome by motivating the mending or repairing of slightly damaged products instead of throwing them away.
· Instead of purchasing plastic bottles, take your metal water bottle along wherever you go. The plastic bottles are not friendly to the health, neither to the environment. Producing bottled water consumes 2000 times more energy as compared to the tap water which is another alarming aspect.
Although plastic consumption has now become a global issue which needs to be tackled at both residential and commercial levels. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the use of plastic from our daily lives, we can collectively minimize the plastic consumption by taking minor steps.
Reducing as much plastic as we can from our routine lives is the solution we all need to practice. While it requires a lot of energy to generate plastic, it takes even more energy and efforts to degrade it. From shifting our priorities to glass or paper one at a time, we can manage the plastic wastage that is rapidly destroying our planet.
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