Plastic is a synthetic material that can be molded into any form. Today plastic is used for manufacturing a number of items ranging from paper clips to vehicles. Plastic has quickly replaced other items like wood, ceramics etc. The large scale demand of plastic has lead to its indiscriminate manufacturing, which has ultimately resulted in the indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste polluting the environment.
The elements that we are surrounded with constitute our environment. The air, the weather, water bodies oceans are all a part of our environment. Environmental pollution is term used for the damage to the environment, brought upon by various factors such as harmful gases, toxic byproducts of manufacturing industry, or by the use of other items of human conveyance such as air conditioners, refrigerators or emissions from vehicles. One of the main ingredients of Environmental pollution is Plastic. Because of its molding property plastic had remained in high demand for decades and is being used indiscriminately in the manufacturing industry. The more the products made of plastic are manufactured and used, the more it afflicts our environment, polluting it.
Plastic manufacturing results in the production of harmful and toxic gases into the environment reducing the quality of breathable air. Plastic manufacturing industry uses oil and other toxic chemicals, releasing gases like CO2 and other toxic chemicals as byproducts. These gases pollute the air and have a depleting effect on its quality largely affecting the life and health of all living forms. According to a study nearly 100 million tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere in the process of making plastic. Even though plastic cannot be degraded it does break down into small pieces releasing harmful gases that pollute the atmosphere. Also when plastic is burnt, it releases heavy metals and toxic chemicals like dioxin into the atmosphere.
Plastic pollution plays a vital role in the depletion of wild life. Each year throughout the world considerable number of trees are brought down to make room for the accumulated plastic waste, from our cities. Such landfills having mounds of plastic waste are a threat to the wild life and challenge its very existence. The animals tend to forage into the garbage and consume plastic resulting in trauma or premature death. Plastic acts as a slow poison for the wildlife as it pollutes their natural water and food resources, making the survival in the wild impossible. There have been incidences of birds dying in flight because of inhaling toxic fumes emanating from burning plastic debris.
Destruction of marine life
Every year thousands of sea turtles, whales, dolphins are found incapacitated or dead because of being entangled in or consumption of plastic. It is found that sea turtles and other sea animals confuse littered plastic with their natural food and tend to eat it resulting in a choked or blocked digestive track. Sea animals are also fount entangled in abandoned fishing nets and die a slow and painful death. Such fishing nets are noted to have settled in the bed of the oceans and can remain there for centuries. Marine life is a vital part of our environment and its decay will result in dangerous climate changes and a rise in oceanic water levels across the world. Littered plastic waste constitute a vital threat to the marine life , also ships that sail deep into the waters are seen to leave some kind of plastic waste behind in deep waters.
Water is one of the important resource that is having a direct threat from the plastic pollution Plastic in the form of bags, wrappers, covers are littered in our locality and eventually find their way into our streams and water ways . Apart from choking our sanitary system such plastic waste also pollute our natural water resources making the water unusable. A great deal of money is then to be spent on cleaning of water. Also when it rains, the toxic chemicals and gases emanating from mounds of plastic garbage, slowly seeps into the ground with rain water, polluting the underground water, and also resulting in the depletion of its level. Such threat to one of the vital elements of life i.e. water is undoubtedly a threat to the environment also as it contributes to the climate change, global warming and an in balanced eco system. Water being very important for the survival of all living forms and necessary for their survival plays an important role in maintaining the ecological system.
Global warming is a term referring to the climate change or the rise in average temperature of Earth. One of the main factors contributing to global warming are the green house gases released by human activities like industrialization, transportation etc.Each year millions of tons of oil is burnt by plastic manufacturing units throughout the world , resulting in the release of million tons of harmful green house gases into the atmosphere. Such huge quantity of green house gases when released in the atmosphere result in the depletion of ozone layer, leading to global warming. Also the mounds of plastic waste emanate harmful green house gases resulting in ozone layer depletion and habitat destruction.
The indiscriminate littering of plastic in oceans have lead to an eco logical imbalance resulting in global warming and a rise in water level across oceans around the world.
Plastic pollution largely affects the fertility of the soil, destroying the food chain and polluting the environment. Plastic when littered in our fields reduces the fertility of the soil. Plastic does not gets dissolved but it does breaks down into small pieces releasing harmful gases, further reducing the fertility of the soil. Also, on burning, plastic releases some of the toxic metals and gases which get settled down in the soil and reduce its yield. Soil pollution results in a reduced yield of the farm produces or the green cover resulting in global warming and an in balanced eco system.
Plastic pollution is one the major threats to the very existence of environment and life forms. There is an urgent need to work towards cutting down the usage and littering of plastic waste to save our Planet. New policies on waste disposals should be implemented by the respective governments keeping in mind the goal of a clean and healthy environment.