Plastic Pollution: The Silent Threat to Environmental Health

General News | Feb-20-2024

Plastic Pollution: The Silent Threat to Environmental Health

When it comes to the times of the convenience plastic has become so important to us. It could be found in various forms from packing materials to disposable utensils. On the other hand, the easiness of plastic is paid by an excessive environmental toll. Plastic pollution has become one of the silent enemies of our planet's health that results in a lot of pollution of our environment, destruction of wildlife and ecosystems, and in the end it has a negative impact on human health.

The Rising Tide of Plastic Pollution:
We are now facing unbelievable plastic waste, and it is estimated that from 8 to 13 million metric tons of plastics are entering oceans per year. The far reaching impact of this rising plastic debris is extensive. The marine life including the smallest plankton or the largest whales is highly affected by the presence of plastics in the seas. Sea turtles often use plastic bags for jellyfish, and smaller birds get bothered with the plastic particles and this may lead to entanglement and ingestion.

Microplastics: The Invisible Menace
Besides the larger plastic particles that we see will catch our attention, the microplastics that we can’t see might be more dangerous. Microplastics is a synonym to plastic particles that are not bigger than 5mm in size either they are the result of the breakdown of larger plastic items or they are intentionally manufactured for various reasons. These nano-sized pollutants, by the way, penetrate water systems, soils and air we breathe penetrating all the way into ecosystems creating a web of environmental contamination.

Human Health at Risk:
However, it should be noted that the effects of plastic pollution go beyond just marine animals. Recently, studies have revealed that microparticles of plastic have been discovered in the food chain thus getting on to our plates and drinking water. The particles that consist of harmful chemical and toxic materials, giving rise to the potential health risks to humans. The long term health issue of plastic consumption by microplastics is yet to be thoroughly examined, but existing data is significant enough to raise health issues up.

Plastic Reduction Initiatives:
Acknowledging the serious problem of plastic pollution, many governments, enterprises, and individuals are making more efforts to reduce using single-use plastics and switch to eco-friendly alternatives. A lot of countries have set plastic bags bans, which has been followed by a trend encouraging the production and use of biodegradable plastic substitutes. Furthermore, alternative methods such as plastic-eating enzymes and advanced recycling technologies are a curtain-raiser for the future to solve the problem of the plastic which is already around.

Individual Responsibility:
However, the systemic change is also important, individuals could also help to cut down the plastic pollution to a certain extent. Small actions like using reusable bags, bottles and containers, properly disposing of wastes and supporting businesses that take their environmental sustainability seriously are some of the things that add up to the collective struggle to fight plastic pollution.

Conclusion, The menace looming behind is plastic pollution; however, the end results are deafening. As we watch the damage it does to our oceans, animals, and then our health to, this should urgently motivate us to act together in an effort to fix the problem. Governments, industries, and all of us should work together to reduce the use of plastic, invest in green options and secure a world of better planet that will be passed on to future generations. The silent threat of plastic pollution 'silently' demands a response from us all.

By : Parth Yadav
Anand School of Excellence

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