The Problem with Plastic
Plastic pollution has been a growing issue over the past several decades. While efforts have been made in producing more biodegradable products, the health of our oceans has already been severely impacted. According to the Ocean Protection Council, about 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the ocean every year. These plastics are found lying on the bottom of the ocean floor, floating on the surface of the sea, inside or tangled around marine life and even find their way into our farm lands.
Unlike biodegradables, plastics never degrade and instead only break down into smaller fragments. These microplastics then find their way into our drinking water and food. In a newly published study from researchers at the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School, microplastics have now been found deep inside tissues of human lungs. While its health implications are still being studied, this new discovery is a cause for concern and shows how this problem continues to grow.
We need to join together in truly taking action to preserve our home and health for ourselves and sea life. Fortunately, the NRDC has provided a list of recommendations to reduce plastic pollution. The Nature Conservancy has found that half of the plastic being produced today is only single use. By choosing to carry reusable tote bags or bottles we limit the amount of products that can make their way into the ocean. One of the other common sources of pollution are microbeads which are commonly found in beauty products and body washes. Natural exfoliants such as salt or oatmeal are biodegradable and a healthier choice for the environment. Recycling is one of the most obvious solutions in combating plastics. Checking the labels on containers or bottles to find which can be curbside recycled can make a huge difference. Other recommendations by the NRDC include shopping for secondhand items at thrift stores or garage sales and buying in bulk instead of single serve foods or travel-sized items. These are only a few ways that we can easily implement change by making slight modifications to our lifestyles. In taking these small steps we can help to ensure a healthier home for everyone.