Plastic Pollution

REUSABLE STRAWS, ANYONE?

“Since when did you begin to use reusable straws?” asked my friend. “When I saw that video of that poor turtle.” I was referring to the video in 2015 that went viral thanks to Christine Figgener (A&M University, Texas). A video of an olive ridley turtle. It was excruciating and bloody. I could feel the pain as the straw was slowly extracted from its nostril. On March 16 2019, researches pulled nearly 90 pounds of plastic waste out of the stomach of a young curvier beaked whale that died in the Davo Gulf of the Philippines (National Geographic March 18 2019). Terence Corcoran wrote; Instead of responding to turtle videos, it would be more useful to zero in on the real sources of floating waste {Financial Post: How green activists manipulated us into a pointless war on plastic (April 25 2018)}.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

The world’s first fully synthetic plastic was invented in New York in 1907. After World War I, new forms of plastic were emerging with mass production beginning in the 1940s and 50s. Over a period of time, they evolved to completely synthetic plastics we use today.

CAUSES

Whatever it is, there are hundreds of videos and articles highlighting plastic pollution. How did we get here? It has caused immense environmental problems with no solution in sight. Plastic has a slow decomposition rate. Recycling is ineffective and too complex resulting in dumping them in the landfills which eventually end up in the oceans. In total, the oceans account for approximately 97% of water on Earth. 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year. Half of the world’s plastic are made in Asia – the lion’s share of that 29% is made in China.

EFFECTS   

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an environmentalist or animal lover. Plastic is an incredible and an amazing invention. It’s wonderful and ubiquitous. We all need, and use it. However, in 2018 a survey by the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey (GOES) Foundation found that the ecosystem in the seas and oceans may collapse in the next 25 years potentially causing failure of terrestrial ecosystem and “very possible the end of life on Earth as we know it”. I believe it to be true because every day as I go about my business, plastic is everywhere. Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the excessive use of plastic. Each time we order delivery food service during these hard times, it’s all packed in single-use plastic. This is excluding personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves. At this rate, plastic pollution will grow exponentially.

Whether it’s pointless to respond to turtle videos or being manipulated by activists it’s a fact and it might be too late to reverse the impact of plastic pollution. After all, plastic has been around for more than a century, and revolutionized the way we live.

It’s only a dream, but humanity is quite resilient and determined. Some scientist might come up with an idea of an eco-friendly material to replace plastic. For now, it’s up to the mighty governments, corporations and worlds’ population to handle the situation.

Sources: softschools.com, National Geographic 2018 and Wikipedia.


Chuck is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Chuck
Author: Chuck

Just a guy who enjoys reading and a dose of jazz everyday.