Everyone knows that plastic is one of the worlds worst man made pollutants. Which is why there is dire urgency for awareness to spread about this deadly synthetic towards which outnumbers Earth’s sea life six to one.
Our planet cannot break down plastic. All the plastic that has ever existed up until the present day still overwhelms our world! By time, the plastic only gets broken down into smaller pieces however never fully degrades. Which is such a shame considering how many marine species are affected by this, namely; all species of sea turtles – that are reported to have had plastic inside or all over their bodies. Not to mention birds…..1,000,000 birds who forage or live by the sea die every year from ingesting plastic.
What a shame….
What’s even worse is that when plastic has been deteriorating in our oceans for years, when us humans go for a swim or drink sea water (unintentionally of course) the chemicals of the plastic are being absorbed by our bodies! The horrible effects of this are:
- disrupt hormones
- male infertility
- low birth weight
- developmental delay
- affects our nervous system, immune system, reproductive system and endocrine system.
Having noted all of these harmful ways plastic is so bad for marine life and also us humans…..there are ways to start counteracting the effects of plastic. Even though you are an individual, that does not mean what you do for the planet is insignificant. Remember through awareness there will be more like you and it’s strength in numbers that we start seeing a change! Be part of the movement and be conscious of everyday habits that you should stop, now.
Lets start from the most obvious – Plastic Bottles: These are one of the most commonly used pieces of plastic in existence. Bottled water is very convenient for on the go, however, in long term goals; this is totally the opposite of what we deem as convenient but unhealthy. Half the households in Malta, according to a 2015 Statistic use bottled water to cook and for drinking purposes. Now, that’s fine, considering that there are different opinions on whether our tap water is drinkable or not. However, those of us who do drink bottled water – the solution might be to start using reusable water bottles. Obviously recycling is key for this to work in our country. Apart from that having a reverse osmosis to recycle water is also another option.
Plastic shopping bags: Instead of buying a shopping bag each time, keep a few, pack them away in a closet and do your best to take one with you so at least the plastic you’ve purchased is being reused again and again, until it can be recycled. (make sure the bag’s you’ve purchased are recyclable)
Takeaway Coffee Cups: These cups unfortunately, however convenient, are lined with plastic that is not biodegradable. Just because they are disposable does not mean that they are recyclable. This might be in the best interest not only for individuals but for cafe’s also. Maybe giving regular clients their own reusable jug/mug/flask which they can leave or take as they please. Thus reducing the amount of takeaway cups going out.
Straws: Okay, I think everyone saw that video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose….It was horrible, I assure you. I know I don’t want that to happen to any other animal every again. Just.stop.using.straws. They’re not really necessary for you to drink are they? If you’re going to mention juice – grab a glass and pour it in. Or, if you’re that into straws, go ahead and invest yourself in having a stainless steel reusable one – and leave it in your bag for convenience. On another note, you can also ask your local cafe if they have biodegradable straws as well.
Plastic Cutlery: Everyone knows that when you’re spending a weekend camping or decide to have lunch in the country-side or a picnic, the first thing to use for convenience is plastic cutlery. An alternative to this if you’re an avid camper or outdoorsy person is to invest in a SPORK….yes, a spoon fork, and maybe a pocket knife….or if you’re lucky, you’ll find 3 in one. What doesn’t help with this is having health food shops that don’t supply reusable cutlery, containers etc, or at least biodegradable.
These are only a few aspects in which plastic may be reduced. There are definitely more options and ways for an individual or household
to do their part. This article is among the many out there as a way to get you started on something so important. If you want to do more, do your research, find out locally who uses biodegradable items, where you can get them and what you can do to raise more awareness about the issue….The Earth will thank you in the long run. <3