Plastic is a material that is used in many ways, from packaging to construction. However, there are environmental concerns around plastic use and commercial waste disposal, which has led to it being dubbed “the scourge of the earth.” We will look at some of those environmental concerns and explore why plastic is a problem across the globe and especially in the UK.
The problems caused by plastic in the UK
They can take centuries to decompose.
Plastics take centuries to decompose because they are made of synthetic polymers. It means that when they end up in landfill sites, they will take a very long time to break down and will release harmful chemicals into the ground as they do so.
They are a significant source of pollution.
Plastic that isn’t recycled eventually finds its way into the sea. Pollution from plastic rubbish is a significant problem in the world’s oceans. The amount of plastic rubbish in the sea is now thought to be 150 million tones, and it’s anticipated to rise by eight million tones each year.
This rubbish can cause problems for marine life, as well as for humans who eat seafood.
They can cause serious health problems for animals and humans
There are a lot of diseases associated with plastic rubbish. In humans, these include cancer, reproductive problems, and immune system disorders. In animals, they can cause liver damage, respiratory problems, and congenital disabilities.
Also, plastic rubbish can cause entanglement, leading to strangulation or suffocation. Ingestion of plastic rubbish can also cause blockages in the intestines, which can be fatal. Humans risk ingesting microplastics, which are tiny pieces of plastic that can find their way into the human body through the food chain.
How can we avoid this problem?
The UK government has taken steps to reduce the amount of plastic rubbish produced yearly. For example, a tax was introduced on plastic bags in 2015, and the government has also banned microbeads.
Another way that you can help to reduce the amount of plastic rubbish is by recycling. You can recycle your household plastics, such as bottles and food containers, at your local recycling center.
Reducing the amount of plastic rubbish by avoiding single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee cups, and also reusing plastic bags.
If we all pitch in to help decrease the amount of plastic waste created each year, we can make a difference.