The use of plastic is so deeply engrained in our everyday life, that we sometimes don't even realise that a particular product has plastic elements in it - like the microbeads in our facewashes! What began as a utility support to our society has become a global menace and is endangering the entire eco-system of our planet.
Take for example the Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean - did you know that this is the largest offshore plastic accumulation zone in the world's ocean? Almost 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. At this rate, this garbage patch is only expected to increase in size. In its current state, it already measures 1.6 million square kilometers in dimension, which is approximately the area of the 5 largest states of India put together (Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh). We can only imagine how this disturbs and endangers marine life.
It is crystal clear - the hazards of using plastic greatly out-weighs its use. 90% of popular bottled water brands contain tiny pieces of plastic. When food is wrapped in plastic or placed in a plastic container and microwaved, BPA and phthalates may leak into the food and disrupt the endocrine system. Not only is plastic hazardous for humans, but it is detrimental for plants and animals as well.
The world recycles just 14% of the plastic it uses. If we simply start reusing or recycling plastic, it will go a long way in curbing plastic pollution. Better still, if we consciously take measures to stop using plastic altogether we will have some hope of saving this planet. Each one of us should practice and advocate the use of cloth bags instead of plastic bags, participate in beach and river clean-up drives and other such activities.
We need to come together and raise our voices against the use of plastic. Together, we can surely put an end to this global threat and strive for a better future.
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