Jordi Chais, the photographer, freed this loggerhead turtle from an old fishing net in The Mediterranean off Spain. Unfortunately, this was not an unusual incident. A gentle ocean giant, who feeds in the deep, got stranded on a Spanish beach and died. This is what ocean pollution can do to the world’s largest predator – the sperm whale. The whale died due an inflammation of its abdominal tissues caused by the presence of nearly 30 kilograms of indigestible plastic (WWF, 2018).
The pollution is not only killing the wildlife but destroying the vegetation too. It is killing off entire lakes and engulfing huge stretches of productive land with the chemicals which seep into the ground and water. The majority of this pollution, which includes rubber, wood, metals, chemicals, and mostly plastics, is never recycled. It keeps damaging the environment for years before it gets decomposed.
An estimated 8 million tons of plastic ended up in the oceans in 2010 alone. A plastic bag ballooned with water can look a lot like squid, or other prey, to the seals and marine mammals that hunt them. They either get entangled in this plastic or ingest it, and ultimately die. A single piece of plastic persists for hundreds of years and can kill many animals by entangling them, poisoning them or blocking their digestive tracts. Marine debris is considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity.
The United States produces more than 30 percent of the planet’s total waste, though it is home to only 4 percent of the world’s population. In 2014 alone, the U.S. threw out over 258 million tons of “municipal solid waste,” or trash discarded by homes, businesses and institutions, such as universities and libraries (Trash in America, 2018). A Columbia University study estimates that Americans throw out 7 pounds of materials per person every day – that’s 2,555 pounds of materials per American every year.
America’s garbage largely consists of goods that are used only briefly and can be repaired or repurposed easily. The 20.4 percent of what homes and businesses throw out is made up of durable goods, like furniture and appliances, many of which can have their materials recycled for other uses. About two-third of the total garbage produced by America is dumped into landfills or burned into incinerators. A large amount of unaccounted for trash ends up loose in the environment as litter. A lot of the landfills have passed their capacity of waste disposal, meanwhile the incinerators release harmful gases in the environment.
The enormous waste generation and inefficient disposal is leading to environmental problems like global warming, air pollution, water contamination, ocean pollution, wastage of natural resources and destruction of habitat. These problems are not as far from affecting our daily lives as we will like to believe. According to American Lung Association reports, 43% of Americans are living in places with unsafe air. About 1 in every 35 people are dying due to air pollution. It means that you are more likely to die from air pollution than in a traffic accident. If we keep producing waste at the current rate and the waste disposal system does not improve, we will be left with too much waste and nowhere to dispose it off.
Trash in LA, LA Times
If you mind living in a place where the surroundings look like this, then it’s time to adhere to the old motto of reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce your waste production. Fresh fruits and vegetable do not require plastic package. Hit your local grocery stores and buy some really fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding generating unnecessary plastic waste. Switch to reusable products. Rather than buying a single use plastic water bottle when you go outside, take water with you in a reusable water bottle. Separate your recyclable waste from the non-recyclable waste. Give away the recyclable waste to companies which recycle it. You will not only be reducing your waste but will also get a healthier lifestyle and some money out of it.
Producers often make goods which can only be used once or temporarily so that consumers continually buy more. They have few direct incentives to build products that last or are easy to repair. Products are unnecessarily packaged in plastic packaging which at the same time is tough to reuse, recycle or compost. We at Ecoshop are striving to produce products which are safer for the environment. Our products are made from environment friendly and biodegradable material. The products are not only beautifully designed but are also durable. You can checkout our plantable stationery and grow kit at our website.
“From Use ‘n’ Throw, to Use ‘n’ Grow”