There is no doubt that plastic is a very useful material, but it's also very dangerous to the future of the planet. It's estimated that there are more than 5 trillion separate pieces of plastic in the oceans of the world. When you consider that it takes up to 1,000 years for plastic to break down, you can see how big the problem is.
Understanding the nature of plastic
In order to fully understand the problem of plastic pollution it helps to know exactly what plastic is. In simple terms, plastic is a man-made material that is manufactured from natural materials such as coal and oil.
When the first plastic was manufactured more than a century ago, it was welcomed as a great invention. This original plastic was known as Bakelite and was created by Leo Baekeland, a chemist from Belgium. Bakelite was slightly different from the plastics that we know today but this was how the story of plastic started.
Today, plastic is one of the most versatile materials on the planet. Therefore, so many things are made from it. Of course, we were not originally aware of the issues that plastic pollution would cause so we have continued to use massive amounts of the material over the years. Now, we are paying the price.
Why plastic is such a problem
Given that plastic is so versatile and widely used, you may be wondering why it's such a problem. The issue with plastic is that it's not biodegradable. It doesn't just rot away quickly like materials such as paper. Plastic can remain in the ground and water supply for up to 1,000 years.
Now, consider the fact that more than 400 million tons of plastic is manufactured every year and that nearly half of it is single use plastic, such as carrier bags and drink bottles. Because it's not biodegradable this single use plastic is not going to go anywhere for several hundred years. Around 8 million tons of it enters the world's oceans each year.
Why not simply recycle plastic?
There are two reasons why plastic is not recycled in a major way. These reasons are that there is not enough emphasis on recycling plastic and that many plastics cannot be recycled. For instance, many plastic containers such as coffee cups have linings that make recycling them complex and expensive. This is why recycling of plastic simply does not happen on many occasions.
The future with plastic pollution
It's estimated that the plastic in the oceans of the world will weigh more than the fish by the time we reached 2050. This is obviously a major concern as plastic is damaging to the environment and to the health of every living thing.
For instance, you may have seen the pictures of birds with their beaks trapped in plastic rings. Birds and other creatures also eat plastic on a regular basis. Around 100,000 animals in the sea are killed by plastic every year.
In addition to the problems caused to animals, humans are also adversely affected by the presence of plastic in the oceans and in the soil. This is because chemicals leak from the plastics and contaminate the food we eat and the water we drink.
We all need to play our part in addressing the problem of plastic pollution. There has already been a lot of damage caused to the planet by our use of plastic over the years. We need to start changing our attitudes to the use of plastic. This is why many countries are starting to ban single use plastic items such as carrier bags and plastic straws.
Companies such as Wowe lifestyle recognize the size of the problem that is created by using plastic. This is why the collection of items at Wowe lifestyle is manufactured using biodegradable materials such as bamboo and silk, as well as metals such as stainless steel which can be recycled. Using these types of material helps us to make a real difference to the environment in which we live. We have reached a point where we have no choice. We have to stop producing more and more plastic. If we do not do so animals will continue to die and our water supplies and soil will continue to be affected by the chemicals which are present in plastics.