Problems in Plastic Paradise
Written by: Kanya Shah
Humans have built a commercial empire on the foundation of large scale plastic production. While plastic is a resourceful way of packaging and selling goods, the negative effects on Earth and life have intensified over the decades.
Plastic is a polymer made from toxic chemicals such as sulfur, chlorine, and fluorine which are particularly dangerous to health. Packaged foods/drinks, shipments, and one time use plastic utensils all expose people to these chemicals which are known as endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors mimic or interfere with hormonal systems. They may weaken the immune system and contribute to the development of health complications such as heart disease, mental impairments, altered hormone regulation, and in severe cases, thyroid and breast cancer.
Young children and teens are more susceptible to these exposures because their bodies are going through major changes; their organs systems are still undergoing development. This means that the infiltration of these chemicals into the younger generation is potentially more dangerous because it can affect their health throughout their life course.
With 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped into the oceans each year, the environment is negatively impacted by our plastic use as well. Organisms such as marine life are affected by the pollution of plastic waste because it kills coral reefs, contributes to climate change, and is ingested by marine life which often leads to a lowered survival rate. Sea turtles, for example, mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, a staple in their diet.
Plastic is clearly an issue, but what can we do? Finding a way to fully eliminate plastic is tricky because many of the appliances and products we use contain plastic. However, there are some ways to lower the amount of plastic from your life.
The utilization of plastic benefits manufacturers more than it does consumers so decreasing the amount of plastic you use is the most logical way to remain healthy and keep the environment green. Our self-created plastic paradise isn’t as amazing as it seems, is it?
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