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Essay

Nail Eminov

Year-Prize: The 11th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Beat Plastic Pollution

Comments 5 Comments    recommendations 0 recommendations

If you cannot reuse it, refuse it

 

Nail Eminov (Azerbaijan)

Honorable Mention


     In 2018, a young sperm whale was found dead on a Spanish beach. Scientists investigated the reason behind its death, and they found 29 kilos of plastics in its stomach. Despite the death of myriad marine animals due to plastic pollution, we still constantly add to marine pollution. It is estimated that the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050. Plastic is so durable that it stays for 500 to 1000 years in nature. But in the ocean plastics never biodegrades; instead, it breaks down into what is called microplastics. As marine animals mistake microplastic for food, it enters into the food chain. Hence, plastics may end up on our plates when we eat seafood products. 
     Even though our daily lives are highly dependent upon plastics, our individual actions can make a difference. Most of the time we use plastics only once and just throw it away, yet if it is not recycled, plastics stays somewhere on this planet. Every year more than 8 million tons of plastics ends up in the ocean. Therefore, people should refuse to utilize single-use plastics whenever they can. For example, half a billion straws are used every single day in the world. However, straws do not have much utility, so people should either stop using a straw, or they can use a reusable one.
     Another single-use plastic that has a detrimental impact on the environment is plastic bottles. People purchase approximately 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute over the globe (Nache, 2017). However, in the USA only 23 percent of plastic bottles are recycled (Fishman, 2007). The rest is simply thrown away, thus polluting the natural environment and jeopardizing the lives of living creatures. We as consumers of these bottles can do our part to reduce the amount of pollution. One solution is to carry your own reusable water bottle and use it whenever you can. In order to facilitate this, stores can place water vending machines and offer water at a lower price than bottled water. This could be more efficient both for the stores and consumers because it provides incentives for people who do not want to carry a bottle with them, and stores can earn more by selling just water.
     Moreover, plastic bags are also one of the main sources of the pollution. According to statistics, every year more than 4 trillion plastic bags are used around the world (Earth Day Network, n.d). That is about 571 bags per person on this planet. Yet only 1 percent of these bags are sent to recycling.  All this waste can be eradicated simply by using reusable bags. Instead of buying cheaper plastic bags every time they shop, consumers can purchase a bit more expensive reusable bag, which will eventually be more economical for them since they buy it only once.
     Although the aforementioned solutions sound promising, we have already generated so much plastic pollution; therefore, it is necessary to reduce plastics that is sticking around. One way to do this is through recycling plastics in a creative way. People so often utilize plastics for things that we throw away; therefore, we have generated approximately 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste since 1907. Only 9% of this waste was recycled, 12% has been burnt, but 72% is still staying around (Geyer, Jambeck, & Law, 2017). However, recycling the vast majority of this waste would make it advantageous for both ecology and economy. Some companies have already started to take steps towards reducing this problem. For instance, Adidas, the global sportswear maker, will employ solely recycled plastics by 2024. Such sportswear products have become popular because they are lighter and dry quickly (Kottasova, 2018). Adidas has already designed football kits, which are completely made from ocean plastic, and giant clubs of Europe such as Real Madrid, Bayern, Juventus, and Manchester United revealed these products as their third kit. This spreads a powerful message, thus increasing public awareness about responsible use of plastic. 
     To sum up, plastic pollution has become one of the global environmental challenges. It has drastic consequences for marine life, natural places, and humans as well. However, like all other problems, plastic pollution has solutions, too. Our individual actions together with more socially responsible businesses can be the major steps in fighting against plastic pollution.
References
Earth Day Network. (n.d). Fact sheet: single use plastics. Retrieved from  https://www.earthday.org/2018/03/29/fact-sheet-single-use-plastics/#_ftn6
Fishman, C. (2007). Message in a bottle. Fast Company Magazine. Retrieved from  https://www.fastcompany.com/59971/message-bottle
Geyer, R., Jambeck, R. J., Law, K. J. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made.  SceinceAdvances. Retrieved from http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.full
Kottasova, I. (2018). Adidas joins the fight against plastic. CNN Money. Retrieved from  https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/16/news/adidas-using-recycled-plastic-only/index.html
Nace, T. (2017). We’re now at a million plastics per minute – 91% of which are not recycled. Forbes.  Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/07/26/million-plastic-bottles- minute-91-not-recycled/#5625e5c4292c


 

5 Comments

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Aman Gangwar

  • Aman Gangwar says :
    Congratulations!
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:50

Manjesh Jha

  • Manjesh Jha says :
    Congrats Nail.
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:47

Kanishka Thakur

Kajal Saini

  • Kajal Saini says :
    Congratulations Nail!!!
    Posted 26-10-2018 14:11

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