In 1907, Leo Hendrik Baekeland pioneered what may arguably be the most useful things on Earth.
Many people don’t know, but so many things that are used daily are made of plastic. Trash bags, kitchenware, shampoo and conditioner bottles, disposable cups, cans, straws, kids toys, and so much more. But, is plastic benefiting Earth or hurting it?
We appreciate plastic because it makes our lives more convenience. It is a lot easier to use plastic bags they supplied at stores instead of reusable bags that must be bought. Yet, by taking advantage of single-use plastic bags, customers harm the environment; most specifically its animals.
Consumers don’t realize that plastic bags are meant to be recycled. If not, they may end up in oceans where animals often ingest them. Other times, animals become tangled in bags, leaving themselves vulnerable to predators and unable to catch prey. Over a million marine animals a year are killed from plastic bags.
If the plastic usage keeps rising, more and more animals will be dying every year and plastic in outweigh fish in the ocean.
On a daily basis, and estimated 4 million tons of trash is being thrown away. 12.8% is plastic. The plastic pollutes the land, air and water. This plastic is causing tremendous issues with the marine animal population. 54% of threatened marine mammal species have been observed tangled in, or ingesting, plastic.
When the animals ingest plastic, it hurts them a lot. They shouldn’t be ingesting plastic, but they do because it’s sometimes the only source of “food” around them. Since there is so much plastic in oceans, it’s the only thing they are used to and the animals don’t know any better.
Yearly, millions of dollars are spent to cleaning oceans and saving wildlife. Yet, it doesn’t work.
Shoppers are asked to use reusable bags. This doesn’t work.
Governments are trying to ban plastic. Even this doesn’t work.
Towns have initiated recycling plans to encourage recycling. This doesn’t remotely work.
People just don’t care. In reality, oceans are 71% of this Earth and we need to take care of the. By continually using and not recycling plastic, oceans will not be saved.
Think about this, if one plastic bag could kill numerous animals because it takes so long to disintegrate, why do you still use them? Drastically reducing plastic use may not only save animal lives but prevent poisoning of water supplies, reducing cancer cases and birth defects.
We’re not saying you need to stop using all plastic but cutting down on your use of plastic could save the ocean, animal life and human life.
Lexi is a senior at Sweet Home High School and previously wrote for the Panther Press where she was the editor for the News section for two years. Lexi is now the Opinion section editor of The Panther Eye. She plays volleyball for the Varsity team at Sweet Home.