The Poison Called Plastic:
Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Written by Shreya Venkatachalam
The year of 2020 has carried disasters, chaos, misery, and most of all pain. Our present is clouded with news regarding racial injustice and COVID, however the current situation of our environment is hidden under the layers of a glorified mask, one we all wear as a symbol of our ignorance. Us humans use plastic on an almost day to day basis, whether it comes in the form of bottles, plates, utensils, or even furniture. No one gives a second thought when they toss a plastic bottle into the trash; no one thinks of the towers of plastic, staying adamantly in the ground rather than decomposing. Most supermarkets, at least here in America, have readily available plastic bags.
What many fail to realize as they pick up a plastic bag is that like all plastic, it is made with crude oil- the highly pollutant ingredient leading plastic to be nonbiodegradable. In our world, plastic bags take a minimum of 400 years to start decomposing and plastic bottles take at least 700 years. That means that the plastic being used and discarded now will only begin the process of composting from between years 2420 to 2720. This leads to heaps of plastic buried deep in landfills, drifting on top of oceans and scattered across beaches, leaching onto chemicals and spreading its poison into groundwater. Furthermore, plastic pollution is harmful for not only humans and animals, but also plants. Plants soak in the toxic pollutants released from plastics as they use the CO2 in the air, harming their ability to produce glucose and energy.
As plants get infected with the plastic pollution, the organisms that consume the plants also ingest particles of the toxins. Working its way up the food chain, the same plastic we humans threw in the trash without a second thought comes back to us laying on a plate, disguised through the form of food. The ultimate poison in this world, the poison that kills slowly and quietly, affecting thousands of organisms, is plastic. We have the choice to remain in the dark and ignore this problem, or step up, take initiative, and try our very best to reduce the effects of it. We have the choice to allow our Earth to rot away at the hands of this poison, or help reduce the usage of it and help our Earth thrive even longer.