One million single-use plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute. I know you did not just gloss over that fact. Take a minute, let that sink in. In just one day, we, humans purchase 1.4 billion plastic bottles. But that's okay as long as we recycle, right? Well... less than 10% of all plastic produced is actually recycled, and a majority ends up in the oceans, in landfills or even worse, being burnt.
The ocean has basically become garbage soup. It is predicted that by 2050 unless things take a drastic turn for the better, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. Bearing in mind that plastic has only been in existence 116 years, and single-use plastic bottles only became a thing in the 1990s, it is alarming the damage we have caused within a relatively short amount of time. How did a product that was invented for human convenience become the very weapon we are using against our home, our very existence?
Our planet is choking on plastic! It is everywhere! Water bodies, roadsides, sewer systems, open dumpsites and now... it is in the food we eat. Yes, a 2020 study found microplastics and nanoplastics in fruit and vegetables sold by retailers in different parts of the world. Plastic has found its way into our farmlands and it will take decades to reverse this. However, at the rate we are going, we might as well fully saturate our soil and ultimately our bodies with microplastics. Even though the risks are not very high currently, it could quickly turn catastrophic. We owe it to ourselves, and future generations, from whom we are borrowing this planet, to live more sustainably in the only home known to humankind.
Alternatively, we could all move to Mars. Hey Elon Musk, I'll be right here when ya'll get back. Meanwhile, is anyone interested in investing in efforts to save this planet before we move on to the next one?
I believe that the biggest detriment to the fight against plastic pollution is the lack of individual and collective responsibility. We all want it to be someone else's problem. That is what we are doing every time we leave a plastic bottle in a bin somewhere without thinking about what will ultimately happen to it. We think, "It is out of my hands...it is someone else's problem now." Then the garbage truck guy thinks, "I've dumped it out of my truck, it is someone else's problem now." Who are we fooling? It is our problem regardless of what we make ourselves believe. Whether that plastic bottle ends up in the Indian Ocean or in a remote village somewhere in Alaska, it remains our problem. This is a problem that could have been avoided by simply owning a reusable water bottle, by signing up with an environmentally conscious waste management company, by using the simple concepts of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle that we learnt in primary school.
Plastic pollution has become an environmental hazard. The rapid increase in the production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world's ability to deal with it. Out of the convenience of plastic, we have created a throw-away culture that is slowly sinking this ship and all living things along with it. We can choose today to join the movement towards a cleaner greener planet... to be friends of creation!
Can we start by not buying water, and instead get reusable water bottles and invest in proper water filtration systems? Just FYI, we wouldn't even need water filters if everything was not so polluted...just saying!