Our species has lived over two hundred thousand years on earth and in the past year we have created over 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage. That’s over eleven million Royal Caribbean cruise ships in weight. The largest cruise ships built to this day. We just throw away trash and never really think about where it goes. Most of us never see it. Most trash is sent to landfills where it is burned releasing methane and carbon dioxide, which makes up almost ninety percent of the gases in a landfill. The bacteria breaking down the trash also releases harmful gases into our atmosphere. Those chemicals can also contaminate our bodies of water and ground water. Some trash is even dumped into the ocean, almost fourteen billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year. The simple way of protecting our planet’s land, air, and water is to recycle.
Landfills have become a global problem. We are running out of space to put the synthetic waste. This accumulation it will have devastating effects on the environment. Plastic is a really hard substance to break down. It takes thousands of years to decompose. When the plastic decomposes it releases harmful green house gases. These gases ,carbon dioxide and methane, are very harmful to take in. Each trees can only get rid of about fifty pounds of carbon a year, but plants are considered a limited resource. We need a well balance of carbon dioxide to be able to have oxygen. If we can reduce the amount of plastic we uses daily it would help substantially. I used to use over two plastic water bottles a day until I switched to a permanent water bottle. That is approximately fourteen water bottles a week. Imagine everyone in the United States (325.7 million) using half of that a week. Thats over two billion water bottles a week. With recycling we don’t have to destroy habitats to make more room for our waste. We will be able to save trees and natural habitats for wild life.
Landfills can even hurt our near bodies of water. When it rains the water carries the chemicals from the landfill to near by bodies of water. Essentially making it dangerous for aquatic life and the wild life that has to drink out of that body of water. Landfills also effect our ground water. In some states their water filters are not as robust as others. This makes public water questionable in some areas. Some public water in the United states even carries these harmful bacteria and chemicals.
Trash in the sea is also a big problem. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals die each year die each year from ocean pollution, and almost one million seabirds die from ocean pollution problems. There is even an island of trash in the great pacific that stretches over six hundred thousand miles composed of plastic and floating trash. This Island is the size of Texas; the biggest state in North America. Plastic in the ocean kills many marine life due to them mistaking it as food. Upon ingesting it they consume many chemical killing them from the inside. If they do survive the plastic is passed up the food chain harming the bigger fish that relies on those smaller marine life. Sea turtles also mistake plastic as food and when they ingest it they choke or they starve from the plastic making them think that they are full. This has made almost all species of sea turtles become endangered.
The cost of recycling my be high, but is letting a whole planet unlivable not equal to the cost? The Earth will always be here but will we? If pollution keeps skyrocketing the way it is now we won’t be able to live on the planet that we are meant to be on. As of right now we do not have the technology to find another planet to live on. We do however, have the knowledge and the power to make earth a healthy living space; not just for us but for the thousands and thousand of animals with us. Many people have started organizations to help with our trash epidemic. They just need a little help and understanding from others, because we will have to face this epidemic in the future. So why not prevent that fate before hand and recycle to make a cleaner and breathable future.
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