How Plastic Enters the Environment
Ever wonder how exactly all that plastic gets into the environment? In this article I will explain exactly how it does as well as a bit of the impact it has. I did cover this briefly in another article, but I will be more in-depth in this one. In future articles I shall go over what all that plastic does to the environment and wildlife as well as how we can prevent more in the future by changing our lives a little bit.
Let’s start off by briefly going over what I mentioned in a previous article followed by a few I didn’t mention.
- Plastic Bottles
Plastic bottles are one of the biggest pollutants to the environment. A million bottles are bought around the world every minute and most of them are not recycled.
Microbeads are found in soaps, shampoos and even some toothpastes. Fish think these little particles of plastic are their food as they look very similar and are the same size. This can end up killing them and thus killing whatever eats that fish and so on. This eventually ends up on our dinner plates and we eat these little particles which can cause all sorts of problems. These enter the environment by going down the drain.
- Plastic Bags
Probably the most obvious form of pollution is plastic bags. So many turtles as well as dolphins and whales are killed by plastic bags alone. If you see a plastic bag underwater, you’ll clearly see how a turtle, dolphin or whale can think it’s food. Underwater, plastic bags look very similar to jellyfish. Of course, this isn’t good for them and they end up suffocating on them. Plastic bags also contaminate the soil, releasing toxic chemicals into the ground and the animals eat them and often unfortunately die from choking on them.
- Electrical Products
Electrical products such as old speakers, radios, washing machines, dishwashers, etc. also cause a lot of pollution and therefore, damage to the environment. Most of the time, they are not disposed of properly and end up in landfill or in our oceans.
- Coffee Cups
Ever get a coffee out? Did you know the cup they give you is most likely not recyclable? You may think it is as the outside is made of paper or cardboard, but the inside is actually made of plastic. There may also be a recyclable symbol on it, but the thing is; not many recycling centres can actually separate the recyclable inside from the plastic inside. In the UK, there’s only 4 places that can actually do it. That’s right, the rest go to landfill which equates to 99% of those coffee cups not being recycled. Most of these coffee cups are just thrown away in the waste bin or thrown onto the street or side of the road. The chemicals released form these cups enter the soil and poison insects and plants. These chemicals also harm animals because it can enter water supplies such as streams or even get into our water supply which we then drink. The latter is quite unlikely but still possible depending on how certain water supplies provide water and what they use to do so.
Packaging from your brand-new TV or kid’s toy is also a major problem for the environment. A lot of people still assume that polystyrene can’t be recycled. But actually, most of it can be. There’s even a company in Ireland called Rehab Recycle that recycle polystyrene. Unfortunately, most recycling centres don’t accept polystyrene in the recycling bin so it’s best to find out where they do near you.
Believe it or not, straws are actually causing quite a lot of harm to sea creatures such as turtles. You may have seen this video online of these vets trying to remove a plastic straw from a turtles’ nose. It could barely breath and was in a lot of pain due to the straw being so far up its nose. The turtle was trying to get away from all the pain as the vets tried to pull the straw out of its nose with a pair of plyers. Luckily, this turtle was caught by the vets and was helped who managed to get the straw out, be it, with a lot of blood. But just think about all of the other poor turtles suffering from this same fate or even having it block their airways, preventing them from breathing. Most plastic straws can be recycled and, yet they are still not disposed of properly.
- Cotton Buds
Most cotton buds are made of plastic and like the straws, can also get stuck in places it shouldn’t. These are usually put into the waste bin.
I hope I’ve made it clear how plastics enter the environment and a bit on that damage it causes.
Hello, I’m Ryan and I’m 22 years old. I’m currently studying Web Development in Adobe Dreamweaver. In my spare time I like to make dance music (and sometimes other genres) in FL Studio. I’m passionate about the environment and it’s well-being and hate to see it get destroyed by pollution.