We all know that there is plastic everywhere in the world. From the bags you get your groceries in, to the bottles you drink from, to the keyboards you type with. But, did you know that there is plastics washing up on the shores of islands that aren’t even populated by humans? One of the islands that this plastic is washed up on is a plane landing island from World War II. The only creatures that are there are the albatross birds. Millions of these and other species of birds and over 100,000 different species of marine animals are dying each year due to plastic pollution around the world. The plastics are in all different forms; from the whole, intact pieces of the plastic, and little tiny particles of the partially broken down plastics. The reason that there is only partially broken down plastics is because it takes 450 years for a single plastic bottle to break down. Other plastics can take more or less time to biodegrade as the bottles. It really depends upon what kind of plastic you are biodegrading, and how thick it is.
Most of the plastics that cover beaches and the ocean’s surface are fishing line, plastic bags, bottle caps, straws, and plastic rings. Plastic even can work like a sponge, and take in other toxins that are also harmful to us. The marine life and sea birds mistake the plastics for food, and then eat it. Other animals might eat the animals that have swallowed the plastics, as the food chain goes. As animals keep passing on these toxins, they can eventually end up in a fish that we eat. Then we then have the plastic toxins in our system. One of those toxins is what’s called phthalates (pronounced “thal – eights”). Phthalates are a toxin that can cause asthma, breast cancer, and type II diabetes.
Why should we care? Do we really want these beautiful birds to die? And does anyone want to get asthma, or breast cancer, or type II diabetes? We should really cut down on the use of “disposable” plastic water bottles and plastic straws. Instead of using those plastic water bottles, get one of the glass bottles that can just be washed and then used over and over again. That way, after every use, there isn’t another plastic bottle in the environment. Instead of grabbing a plastic straw to drink from, use a more durable straw made out of glass, or bamboo, or stainless steel. There really are straws like that out there that you can purchase at your local store, or they aren’t available there, turn to the internet.
Plastics polluting our environment is a serious problem that can and will affect our future. So before grabbing that plastic bottle, stop and think; what are you really doing? Are you just grabbing something to drink and harmlessly throwing away the bottle, or is there a consequence that affects us all?