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We all know about the seven continents in the world. But what if I told you there is another, the eighth continent, and it’s made of plastic? It is quite alarming, isn’t it?
With 1.8 billion floating bits of plastic, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between California and Hawaii, is three times the size of France and the largest ocean garbage dump on the planet. Each year, it claims the lives of thousands of marine animals. Its nickname, “the eighth continent,” is accurate and explains everything.
It is undeniable that plastics are intruding on the world. The moment has arrived for every one of us to act if we want to save the earth. The government, large retailers, and supermarkets all have the authority to make significant adjustments.
But we also have power. We can force producers to alter their methods of production. How? By changing our consumption patterns.
Here are some ways to use less plastic in our everyday life.
Our way of life will become more sustainable if we practice the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Organizations like 5Gyres, however, have broadened the scope of this dictum to encompass people, businesses, and policymakers, assembling five key tactics they think might assist in combating the issue of plastic pollution.
One of the significant sources of plastic garbage in our oceans is water and other beverage bottles and their lids. More than a million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world, but only a tiny fraction of them get recycled. The UK alone uses 35 million plastic bottles every day.
A reusable glass or stainless-steel bottle that can be used repeatedly is a straightforward substitute. Containers made of these materials are rugged, easy to clean, and portable and can be used anywhere, including workplaces or vehicles. Whenever a restaurant offers you water in plastic bottles, politely request a glass by explaining your preference.
It is exceedingly challenging to efficiently manage plastic bags because they are challenging to recycle and have no worth even if retrieved. A plastic bag is typically used for approximately 12 minutes, yet it can linger in the environment for many years.
Buying reusable shopping bags is a clear decision in this situation. Cloth bags are ideal for a variety of functions and are portable. Our earth will be healthier if we always use reusable bags.
The number of straws used daily in the USA is estimated to be over 500 million. However, they need to be recyclable because of the materials they are made of. Plastic straws are one of the most common types of ocean garbage, even though many winds up in landfills or are burned.
The next time you order a beverage, ask if you need a straw; if not, refuse it. However, if the answer is yes, carry a washable, reusable metal or bamboo straw. Furthermore, bamboo has a rapid growth rate, making it perfect for recovering damaged forest areas.
Plastic lids from throwaway Styrofoam cups are a substantial source of ocean waste. Although the foam composition progressively degrades, the leftover fragments can last for years. Similar to these, plastic Styrofoam food containers are also seen floating in the deepest parts of our oceans and on beaches worldwide. It is estimated that 25 billion expanded polystyrene foam cups are used annually in the United States alone; the amount used globally is incalculable. Additionally, neither the lids nor the cups are simple to recycle.
It’s easy to use your containers, ideally glass or metal containers. Bring your own containers and cups for takeout; your beverage will stay hotter for longer while saving the environment by using less plastic.
The scrubbing sensation is caused by plastic microbeads, introduced as abrasives to body washes, toothpaste, and face scrubs. However, due to their small size, they are quickly absorbed by marine species and reach the oceans via our sewage systems. Researchers have found that these microbeads and other microplastic fragments are entering the aquatic food chain and that humans, the top predator of the seas, are now consuming these plastics.
Microbeads are still available worldwide, despite governments in some nations beginning to outlaw them. Always read the labels before making purchases and stay away from items made of nylon, polyethene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethene terephthalate (PET), and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
The cellulose acetate fibre used to make cigarette butts can take years and years to decompose in the ecosystem. However, when taken into account separately, butts were among the top 5 contributors to plastic pollution, according to the B.A.N. List 2.0.
Not only can giving up smoking benefit the environment by reducing plastic waste, but it also improves health and quality of life by lowering the chance of premature mortality and can lengthen life expectancy by as much as 10 years.
The B.A.N. List 2.0 identified food packaging and wrappers as the significant source of plastic pollution. Even though plastics are essential for food preservation and waste reduction, the global food industry is guilty of overpackaging items.
The best way to change things is to strive to only purchase items with minimal plastic packaging if any at all. Buy larger supplies rather than little packages wherever you can, and look for container alternatives like glass or cardboard. Additionally, wherever feasible, take your personal boxes and bags.