World Environment Day urges governments, industries, communities, and individuals and so on to come together and discover sustainable alternatives and urgently decrease the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.
World Environment Day is the UN's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. In recent years, millions of people have taken part in thousands of registered activities worldwide.
Plastic pollution, a disappointing crisis
world’s population increases each day and the amount of garbage that people produce is growing like that. Plastic is an incredibly useful material, but it is also made from toxic compounds known to cause illness, and because it is meant for durability, it is not biodegradable. Modern lifestyles require easily disposable products, such as bottles of water or cans, but the accumulation of these products has led to rising amounts of plastic pollution around the world. Unfortunately, people are simply generating more plastic trash than ever, and very little of it gets recycled. Plastics and their byproducts are littering our cities, oceans, and waterways, and contributing to health problems in humans and animals. As plastic is created of major toxic pollutants, it has the potential to cause great harm to the environment such as air, water and land pollution. Often this includes killing plant life and posing dangers to local animals.
It is claimed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.
Astonishing rates of plastics
These are other terrible and frustrating facts about the effects of plastics on the environment:
• Approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags are used by shoppers worldwide per year, means a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth. Unfortunately its increasing every day.
• If you joined them end on end they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times.
• The only man-made thing that sailors see in our ocean are plastic bags.
• There are believed to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.
• There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to current circulation. These gyres contain millions of pieces of plastic and our wildlife feed in these grounds.
• It can take anything between 20-1000 years for a plastic bag to break up. I mean break up as they break up into smaller pieces. They don’t break down and those that do, break down into polymers and toxic chemicals.
• World wide, 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day.
• It costs US$4,000 to recycle 1 tonne of plastic bags and you get a product that can be sold on the commodities market for US$32. We must stop them because recycling is not viable.
• It takes just 4 family shopping trips to accumulate 60 shopping bags.
Disposing of plastic and recycling
because plastic is meant to last, it is almost impossible to get rid of. Even recycling doesn’t cut down on plastic, as it essentially uses the existing plastic, albeit in a new form. The process of recycling plastic can also lead to plastic irritants being released in a number of ways. Burning plastic is incredibly toxic, and can lead to harmful atmospheric conditions and deadly illness. Therefore, if it is in a landfill, it will never stop releasing toxins in that area. The estimated decomposition rates of most plastic debris found on coasts are surprising, for instance Foamed plastic cups took nearly 50 years, Plastic beverage holder around 400 years, Disposable diapers near 450 year, Plastic bottle around 450 and Fishing line: 600 years. Therefore. Its sensible quotation “prevention is much better than cure”.
Effects of Plastic Pollution
Undeniably, the large amount of plastics that isn’t meant to break down, will cause irrecoverable losses on our environment leading to long-term issues for plants, animals, and people. Some of the major long-term losses of plastic pollution are:
Disrupting the Food Chain
Polluting plastics even affect the world’s tiniest organisms such as plankton because of tiny patches and upsets the chain food. When these organisms become poisoned due to plastic ingestion, this causes problems for the larger animals that depend on them for food. This can cause a whole slew of problems, each step further along the food chain. Plus, it means that plastic is present in the fish that many people eat everyday.
The world’s water is in great danger of pollution because of leaking plastics and waste, so water conservation is a great concern all over the world. If you’ve ever seen a garbage dump, imagine what happens every time it rains – then imagine that being in your drinking water. Groundwater and reservoirs are susceptible to leaking environmental toxins.
Most of the litter and pollution affecting the world’s oceans also derives from plastics. This has had terrible consequences on many marine species, which can lead to consequences for those that eat fish and marine life for nutrients – including people.
When plastic is dumped in landfills, it interacts with water and form hazardous chemicals. When these chemicals seep underground, they degrade the water quality. Wind carries and deposits plastic from one place to another, increasing the land litter. It can also get stuck on poles, traffic lights, trees, fences, tower etc. and animals that may come in the vicinity and might suffocate them to death.
Burning of plastic in the open air isn’t an appropriate method to get rid of plastics because it leads to environmental pollution due to the release of poisonous chemicals. The polluted air when inhaled by humans and animals affect their health and can cause respiratory problems.
From the whale, sea lions, and birds to the microscopic organisms has been greatly affecting by plastics. it is estimated that 177 species of reptiles, mammals and fish are at risk as a result of swallowing litter at sea. It is estimated that there are 13,000 pieces of plastic litter per square kilometre of the world's oceans. And perhaps the most worrying fact of all is that in the longer term, these plastics can break down into tiny particles which are eaten by smaller species and passed up the food chain.
The other rates of slaughtering of animals:
• 50 to 80 percent of sea turtles found dead are known to have ingested plastic marine debris.
• At least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
• Ocean acidification is a growing problem.
• Scientists have identified 200 areas declared as ‘dead zones’ where no life organisms can now grow.
• 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found.
• Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic.
Poisonous for human
Using a number of toxic chemicals to make plastics, produces many health problems for man due to poisonous materials. Therefore, use of and exposure to plastics has been linked to a number of health concerns affecting people around the world.
Wasting money and economic loses
Wasting millions of dollars each year to clean affected areas after exposure is another loss of plastics. Not to mention the loss of life to plants, animals, and people. As land becomes more valuable, just finding a place to put garbage is becoming a problem in many parts of the world.
Ecosystem Changes and climate change
Another effect of the plastic tide that goes beyond visual is its potentiality to change entire ecosystems. Plastic is not just an aesthetic problem, because it can actually change entire ecosystems. The organisms have plenty of time to adapt to different water and climatic conditions.
The obvious and simple answer is: us…
Behind each and every piece of littered plastic debris there is a human face. At a critical decision point, someone, somewhere, mishandled it, either thoughtlessly or deliberately. Cigarette filters and cigar tips, fishing line, rope and gear, baby diapers and nappies, six-pack rings, beverage bottles and cans, disposable syringes, tires, the litany of plastic litter is as varied as the products available in the global marketplace, but it all shares a common origin…
Environment pollution and religions
In ancient times, men believed that beings lived in the waters. This led them to consider the waters as sacred and prevented them from polluting them. The issue of environmental pollution can not be isolated from a spiritual vision. Indeed, the pollution of the soil, air and water is a consequence of the loss of consciousness of the sacredness of the world.
It seems important to us to distinguish human beings from the rest of creation, in order to recognize the place and the unique responsibility that man has received in the creation from the Creator. Indeed, religions offer a reading of the relationship between man and nature. In religions, there is a relationship of true love and harmony between man and all creation. Preserving the environment is preserving and respecting the creation of God. In the sacred texts, we find some verses concerning nature:
• Torah stories contain many references to the preservation of natural resources. One of the most important is the Ten Wounds of Egypt, which offers us many examples of changing nature as a divine instrument of punishment. An important area of halakha provides soil and land protection.
• There are biblical verses recalling that God has not only created the Earth, but also invites to protect it. Other verses show that knowledge of God and his works can be found in the understanding of plants, animals and the environment.
• And in the Qur'an, God says, "[6:99] And it is He who has sent down the water from heaven. Then by it We made every plant sprout, from which We brought out a verdure, whence We produced grains, superimposed on each other; and the palm tree, its spathe, dates of dates stretching. And also the gardens of grapes, olive and pomegranate, similar or different from each other. Look at their fruits as they are being produced and matured. These are signs for those who have faith. "