Meaning and Major Causes of Plastic Pollution:
Plastic is a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc. But today plastic makes alot of pollution. And leads to plastic pollution.
Plastic pollution is the introduction of plastic products into the environment which then upset the existing ecosystems in different ways. These pollutants cause environmental degradation and also affect different living organisms and their habitats negatively.
When plastic products accumulate in the environment, they begin to cause problems for wildlife, humans, and other living organisms. They create conditions that are not favorable for healthy living and proper growth. This is what is essentially referred to as plastic pollution.
Top 5 Causes of Plastic Pollution:
1.Urbanization and Population Growth:
Increasing urbanization and population growth rate is considerably accountable for plastic pollution. With the increase of population and urban growth, the demand for cheaper and readily available materials increases. In the first decade of this century, for instance, more plastics have been made than any other plastic manufactured in history simply due to rapid urbanization and rising consumer demands. In most urban areas, plastics form the greater part of the landfills and constitute about 80% of all the municipal waste.
2. Plastics are Cheap and Affordable to Manufacture:
Because plastics are the cheapest and most affordable materials to manufacture, their production has tripled in the recent decades to take care of the ever rising consumer demands. Because of this quality, plastic has been used to make almost every single utility including plastic water bottles, plastic cans, straws, plastic paper bags, packaging wrappers, carton linings, food containers, lids and the list goes on and on. Plastics may be cheap and affordable to manufacture, but in a similar manner, it leads to a heavy toll on environmental pollution.
3. Reckless Disposal:
As stated earlier, plastic are among the easily disposed items due to their lightweight and use period. Take for example plastic paper bags, wrappers, plastic water bottles, straws, and food containers. The use period of these items is very short. Therefore, after getting the essential item, most people don’t see the need of keeping the remaining plastic.
After all, when we go back shopping, we’ll definitely find another plastic water bottle, straw, food container or plastic packaging. So, we are quick at disposing the used plastics since we see no need for retaining or reusing them. This is the culture that has increasingly worsened plastic pollution because eventually it ends up disposed somewhere in the bins and on the roadsides or aimlessly discarded in the landfills.
4. Slow Decomposition Rate:
Plastics take hundreds of years to decompose because they have strong chemical bonds that simply make them last. The simplest plastics such as the ones used in grocery stores take at least 50 years to break down while the complex ones take between 100 and 600 years to decompose.
5. Over utilization of plastic:
As plastic is less expensive, it is one of the most widely available and overused item in the world today. When disposed, it does not decompose easily and pollutes the land or air nearby when burned in the open air.