5 Ways Plastic Causes Environmental Harm
Plastic never truly goes away. It is just transported to our landfills and oceans.
With 40% of plastic products only being used once, it is becoming a waste problem that is getting out of control.
Plastic waste is causing severe environmental harm in ways that you may not be aware of. This post will bring light to some of these problems.
Keep reading to learn five ways that plastic products harm the environment and why plastic bans are becoming a thing.
1. Air Pollution
When you throw plastic away, it may not end up in a landfill. Some of it is burned out in the open.
When you burn plastic, it releases its toxins into the atmosphere. The wind then carries it across the land.
When you inhale these toxins, it leads to respiratory problems for both people and animals.
2. Threatens Wildlife
Have you ever been for a nice hike in the woods and saw plastic trash laying around?
Trash like this can seriously threaten the wildlife in the area. If an animal gets hold of plastic and attempts to eat it or feed it to its children, they can end up poisoned.
Animals eating this plastic isn't the only issue. It can also act to trap animals when they investigate it. Birds and fish can get their heads stuck, and other animals can get plastic stuck over their heads.
3. Contaminating Groundwater
Plastic in landfills does more than sit there. When plastic accumulates in landfills, toxic chemicals from it drain out into the soil and get into any groundwater underneath.
Water filtration can remove a lot of this, but there is no guarantee that everything is going to be removed.
4. Plastic Islands in the Ocean
If plastic is sent off to landfills then why would it end up in the ocean? There are three main ways this happens: littering, sewage, and plastic blown off of garbage trucks.
Research shows that there is an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic in the ocean.
The best example of this is the plastic island known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is located between Hawaii and California near the United States and covers an estimated 1.6 million square kilometres.
5. Damaging the Food Supply
While the ocean is a common point of discussion for harming wildlife and food sources, people miss agriculture soil in that discussion.
Sewage sludge is a common place to find plastic microparticles that contain toxins. Water treatment plants have become good at treating water, but the plastic in sludge doesn't get the same treatment. Raw sewage is a common fertilizer used in agriculture that introduces these plastic particles to your food.
Not much is known about the total impact of this, but along with contaminating the food, scientists also believe that plastic can change the soil profile of farming areas where this problem occurs.
Solving Environmental Harm: Get Started Today
With all of the environmental harm that happens today, you can do your part by reducing your use of plastic and recycle the plastic you do use.