Since the mass production of plastic products in the 1950s, plastic products especially plastic bags have popularly been used by people because of their cheapness, and convenience of use. And it wasn’t until the 21st century that their damaging impact became apparent. So here is a question which is how bad the environment actually is after we have kept using plastic products immoderately for decades?
Plastics pollute the world’s oceans. As the plastic waste continually being dumped into the oceans, Plastic's accumulation in the ocean is getting larger and larger. At first, those plastics will float on the surface of the ocean, and because of its large amount, a large area of ocean surface would be covered by plastics, which insulates the creatures in the water from sunlight and oxygen. For one thing, because of in lack of oxygen, the aerobic organism in the ocean would die. For another thing, those bacteria which is supposed to break down animal carcasses can’t work normally, which will break the ecological balance down the ocean and cause the water to stink.
And then, after decades, plastics are fragmented which means they are break down into chemicals by nature, and the chemicals usually are harmful, no matter to the ocean or to the creatures in ocean, that’s because the raw materials of plastics all contain poisonous heavy metal element. Once the toxic compound entre into creatures, it will accumulate along the food chain, and higher level the creature in the food chain is, the more toxic compound in their bodies. Meanwhile, the high-level marine creatures are often caught by people as food, which means of all living creatures on the Earth, humans bodies have the largest amount of toxic compound.
Plastic products pollute land. Most of plastic products we use are non-degradable or their degradation process takes hundreds of years, plus, the way we handle plastic waste is we put them together and bury them in land. Which causes land fertility declines, and the land is polluted by the toxic compounds which come from plastics decomposition process. What’s more, there is a great possibility that plastics we dump pollute freshwater if they are near rivers or streams.
Alternative proposal to reduce plastic pollution. First, we classify plastic waste as hazardous waste. Specifically, government should set up an exclusive category named plastic and battery which holds plastic waste and old batteries because they are all harmful to the environment. Second, government should ban free plastic bags when people shopping even ban all the plastic bags just like what Italy and Myanmar do. Third, increase the price or tax on plastic bags. The reason that plastic bags are widely used is they are cheap, so the use of plastic bags will decrease correspondingly when the price of them is high.
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