As a human species, we’ve made great strides. In the last 25 years – the size of computers has gone down from filling an entire room to the palm of our hands. That’s pretty cool. We’ve also made great strides with plastics. The laptop that I’m writing on is made of plastic, which makes it durable and affordable. We use plastic lunch boxes, plastic chairs, plastic in our phones.. Everywhere.
But we really messed up when it came to plastic bags. Millions of plastic bags are being used every day. These bags are not recycled and end up in our ecosystem. Plastic bags choke the earth everyday and we’re just not doing enough to change that.
It Destroys Our Land
If you throw a piece of paper on the road, over the years it will biodegrade and become part of our ecosystem. Plastics do not. Have a look at this photo
This plastic bags is at least 22 years old. And it’s not even begun to disintegrate. This is not written by an anti-plastic organization. It’s written by a regular guy who was removing a fence. And he found 4 plastic bags. Once plastic goes into our soil, it stays there. One plastic bag in the ground can take upto 1000 years to disintegrate. For hundreds of years, this plastic stays in our soil, making it less fertile. Chlorinated plastic releases harmful chemicals into the soil, which often seep in our groundwater which is very bad for any species that drinks it (including us).
They carry toxins and use our resources
Manufacturing plastic bags consumes natural resources including oil. Not only are these resources finite, there is significant pollution in the extraction and refinement of oil which is one of the leading factors for global warming. Various carcinogenic, neurotoxic and hormone-disruptive chemicals are ingredients and waste products of plastic production. These find their way into our water, land and air each day polluting our ecosystem.
Estimates say that up to 100 million barrels of oil are used to make the world’s plastic bags every year. A plastic bag however, is typically used for just 20 minutes.
Not only do plastics not break down, but when they do, they’re dangerous. Plastic contains toxins such as phtalates, BPA and flame retardants. When they do break down, they absorb other dangerous toxins such as damaging pesticides like DDT, PCB, PAH and others.
We’re using our precious resources and polluting the earth in making something we hardly use.
It ends up in our oceans
And it kills our sea life. Each square mile of ocean has close to 46,000 (yes, thousand!) pieces of plastic floating in it. This kills over a million sea birds, whales, seals, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and so on every year.
There are an estimated 5.25 Trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.These plastics break down to micro plastics that end up in our marine animals and a lot of it ends up in us. Because they are not biodegradable, each of these plastics could take upto a 1000 years to disintegrate. And we end up adding thousands of bags to our environment every single day. The math does not look very good.
Have a look at this heartbreaking documentary
At EcoRight, we’re taking the first small step in removing plastic bags from our everyday use. Regardless of whether you buy a bag from us or not, when you go home – reconsider the use of plastic in your day to day life. Our future generations will be grateful to you. Every step – even not using plastic once a week when you go shopping, will help in saving our planet.
We’re not alone and we’re not trying to paint an overly grim picture – over 30 countries have already taken steps to ban plastic bags. You can have a look and what they’re doing here.
Take the first step in saving our planet today. Godspeed.