Article written by Dr. Krithika Muthukumaran
Dr. Muthukumaran is an advocate for an eco-friendly lifestyle. She is very passionate about making change in the community she lives in and she is always searching for new knowledge. Dr. Muthukumaran expressed interest in writing an article for Waste Free in Windsor, and of course we said yes! She is also a medical writer and this is her first article for Waste Free in Windsor. Enjoy!
The Villain Named Plastic
We have been hearing about the environmental impact of plastic straws a lot recently. Seattle banned plastic straws, U.K will ban sales of plastic straws by the end of this year and Starbucks plans to eliminate plastic straws globally by the year 2020. Yes, a single use plastic straw is a small part of the big problem, but they do end up in landfills and oceans, hence a small step could lead to a much needed change in our attitude and behaviour.
Nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, 91% of which is not recycled. Our trash continues to reach the middle of the ocean, and the marine animals suffer as they get tangled in or eat the plastic, suffocate and starve. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the ocean each year. If you wish to be more aware of the waste you generate and do more than just stop using plastic straws, here are the other plastic items commonly found in ocean clean ups.
1) Cigarettes butts (contains plastic fibers)
2) Food wrappers
3) Beverage bottles (plastic)
4) Bottle caps
5) Grocery bags
6) Foam take-out containers
In biology, decomposition is a natural process where dead animals or plants are broken down to simpler forms by the action of air, water, light or microorganisms.
Decomposition is important for the ecosystem. However, plastic is one of the types of waste that takes a very long time to decompose, and in landfills, they can take up to 1000 years to decompose. The toxic effects of plastic are numerous, the toxic chemicals from the plastic waste can affect our health, the groundwater, wildlife, and poison our food chain.
Being aware of the damages caused by plastic can lead to creative solutions and alternatives. Some alternatives to plastic straws are bamboo straws and steel straws, or the no straw, drink straight from the cup option.
Start making changes and say no to plastic!