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World Of Plastic

There is not a single place in the world that is not contaminated by plastic. We have been throwing away plastic for years now and it is coming back to bite us on the rear.

“Persistent Organic Pollutants are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment.” United Nations Environmental Programme

The Northern Gyre in the Pacific Ocean is a place where tons of plastic make up a chemical soup of refuse that cannot biodegrade. The water looks like a snow globe glistening with billions of tiny pieces of plastic. Nurdles are the raw material plastics are made from, tiny pre-plastic pellets that kill hundreds of fish and birds who think of them as food.

Since the 1950’s over a billion tons of plastic have been thrown away and much of it ends up in the sea. All this waste will remain there forever if we continue to pollute our oceans. They cannot process the huge amount we dump into them.

“In 1997, the US Academy of Sciences estimated the total input of marine litter into the oceans, worldwide, at approximately 6.4 million tons a year.” U.N.E.P.

Most plastics are derived from petrochemicals. Some plastic is mixed with starch powder to allow it to bio degrade more easily. Ecoflex is a fully bio degradable plastic used in food packaging. Compounds leaching from polystyrene food containers may interfere with hormone function. Some polymers decompose into toxic substances when heated, for example in a microwave oven.

Look around the house and see just how much plastic is used in daily life. The furniture, window and door frames, computers and televisions, food storage containers, medicine bottles and water pipes are all made of plastic. Beauty products, cleaning products, clothes and shoes all come with plastic containers, wrappers, labels, tags or bags.

Holistically, for us and the world, plastic is a bad thing. For its many uses it has as many downfalls yet we use it every moment of the day.

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum L.) were the first plants to have been show to clean the air of formaldehyde. This chemical is used in the manufacture of plastics and will give off fumes into the atmosphere. Snake plants, also known as Mother-in-laws tongue and Golden Pathos also clean up formaldehyde fumes. Hang them around the house instead of using toxic chemical air fresheners.

In today’s society avoiding plastic is impossible but as responsible people we can and should recycle all the plastic used in our homes. It can be chopped up, melted down and used again. Recycling plastic is far more beneficial than leaving it floating in the ocean where it harms the sea’s life.

“Reality in our century is not something to be faced.” ~ Graham Green

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