Over the past 10 years, the plastic industry has created more plastic than there was created during the whole last century.
Plastic is used in everyday life. Most things are made out of plastic: the computer that is used to do homework, the phone used to talk to parents, the utensils to eat food, and many other things that everyone uses in their daily lives, from dawn to dusk. According to the website EcoWatch, the average American throws away about 185 pounds of plastic each year.
All the used plastic takes anywhere from 500 – 1,000 years to breakdown, but it never completely goes away. Every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some way unless it was incinerated.
Plastic doesn’t just linger on the Earth forever, but it is absorbed by humans as well. Humans absorb the chemical BPA; 93 percent of Americans over the age of 6 test positive for the chemical BPA. Some of the chemicals in plastics that can be absorbed by the human body have been found to alter hormones and have other detrimental effects.
The plastic problem is also harmful to animals. One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic floating in the ocean. Due to the ocean currents, much of the garbage put into the Pacific Ocean ends up in an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The ocean is not the only body of water to have plastic in it. In Lake Erie, researchers found more than 1.7 million plastic particles per square inch.
There are things that we can do to help with the plastic problem. The biggest thing that can be done is finding alternative items that can be used in place of something plastic. Find items like a reusable water bottle, reusable lunch boxes, reusable grocery bags and many more reusable items. Another way to help with the problem is by volunteering to help clean up around towns.
Cleaning up the plastic problem doesn’t just start and finish with our generation. It may start here, but it has to be a work in progress from people everywhere. The plastic pollution is something that damages everybody and everything around. It also won’t be something that is fixed overnight; it will take many decades to fix.