Plastic Pollution – How Much Plastic is in Your Trash?

Plastic pollution is the buildup of plastic particles and objects within the soil and air of the world, that negatively affects people, wildlife, and natural habitats. Plastic which acts as pollutants are generally classified as meso or micro debris depending on their size.

These micro-dirt particles can be found on the ground, ocean floor, and surface waters. While micro-dirt particles do not pose health risks to humans, they can cause significant environmental damage to both land and water.

There are various types of plastics used in everyday life

However, most of them are harmful to humans and animals because they are made from chemicals and toxins. Plastic products can also be found in our daily lives as we use them as a container or as packaging material in which food items and other commodities are packaged.

It has been proven that plastics can affect the fertility of women and may even cause them to miscarried or deliver babies with birth defects. Many toxic and harmful chemicals used to make plastics are used in industries and found inside the homes and offices where they have no place.

The worst culprits in plastic pollution are

  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Dyes
  • Bleaches

Plastic trash bags are known to emit toxic gases such as acetone, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) this is any of a class of inert compounds of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine, used in place of CFCs as being somewhat less destructive to the ozone layer, as well as carbon monoxide. These chemicals are harmful to human beings, animals, and the environment.

Plastic Pollution - How Much Plastic is in Your Trash?

Plastic shopping bags are also considered as one of the main causes of pollution because of the number of hazardous materials that they contain. One example of these materials is Bisphenol A (an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s.

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Bisphenol A is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles.), and Phthalates (or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic anhydride.

They are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They are used primarily to soften polyvinyl chloride.), which are widely used as plastic additives.

This is very detrimental to the environment because these harmful chemicals have been proven to leach from plastic through the skin of birds, pets, and people. Read: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution

Other forms of plastic waste include plastic bottles and plastic bags, which can contain harmful substances like bisphenol A and phthalates, which are found in our drinking water. This plastic can also cause health problems to wildlife.

There are many cases wherein birds have died after ingesting these harmful chemicals and even to human beings as well

Plastic milk cartons and plastic milk containers are also considered as another form of plastic pollution. As these plastic containers are being reused, the chemicals are released in the air, land, water, or food. Even when they are thrown away, these chemicals continue to be present in the environment.

In addition, there are also many instances in which plastic has caused environmental damage to the ecosystem of an ecosystem. One example of this is when plastic toys and other toys are left out to dry on the ground where they will rot causing severe damage to the plant.

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As trees are destroyed, oxygen levels in the air are lowered, which will ultimately damage plants and animals. Plastic products can also pose a danger to the environment because they can easily break and release dangerous chemicals into the water supply.

Many people do not realize this but there are many sources where the chemicals released from these plastic products can find their way into rivers and lakes or can leak out and be inhaled by people. Read: What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet

The effects of this are still being discovered

Plastic waste is one of the most common and widespread forms of garbage. Almost all countries worldwide have some sort of system in place to deal with it. However, it seems that in the United States and Europe, these systems are not as advanced as those in other countries.

These systems are used to treat the huge amount of plastic waste that is produced in an industry. However, a lot of resources are required for this. Many factories use a lot of chemicals for processing, which means more garbage has to be produced than what can be processed or recycled.

Plastic is also considered one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions. It has been estimated that every pound of plastic that is thrown out into the landfill causes more greenhouse gasses to be produced in an equivalent amount of time.

This is due to the fact that more than ninety per cent of the plastic produced in the world is consumed by humans as their primary source of energy.

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About the author

I am Adegboyega Tunde Temitayo. A registered Town Planner with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC).

I love to think differently and possibly on various Urban and Regional Planning issues to proffer solutions to Urban and Rural Environmental Problems. You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

As the Chief Editor of Town Planners Diary, I humbly welcome you to this platform which is about enhancing Planning Education through research on various Town Planning and Environmental issues.

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