I want to talk about plastic pollution. Though all plastic food containers are an issue, let’s have a look at single use plastic bottles. It is estimated that annually 80 billion water bottles are used in the United States alone. Roughly 80% of these water bottles end up as litter. Furthermore only PET bottles can be recycled, and the rest are discarded into land fills for found littering our planet. PET bottles make up 25% of plastic bottles used in the U.S. Landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. idswater.org
According to The Water Project, it takes 3 liters of water to create 1 liter of bottled water. When one thinks that people are dying of thirst, how can one be O.K. with the waste of water used to make water convenient for those that have clean water available to them when all they need is a water filter.
With increasing populations and global warming, the problem of available clean water will be more tenuous. Increasing rites over water will will not only increase the cost of water, but violent altercations are likely to increase. So, wasting water for whatever reason is not O.K.
The problems with bottled water do not end here. Valuable resources are wasted in the processing and transportation of bottled water. Transporting water is adding to global warming.
Plastics also have an extremely negative impact on the plants, wildlife and even the human population. The water we drink, the air we breath and the ground we walk on are all contaminated with plastic by-products. The damages caused by these contaminants are irreversible. Though a useful product, plastic bottles are made from toxic compounds known to cause illness. And these products take thousands of years to biodegrade. As a result landfills never stop releasing the toxins into the air from all the plastic products we throw away. In landfills, plastic interacts with water and forms hazardous chemicals (Conserve Energy Future).
Burning isn’t a solution, for this releases poisons gases into the atmosphere and may have some deadly consequences. Both humans and other animals may suffer respiratory problems as a result.
In general, according to Conserve Energy Future , recycling plastic adds to many of the problems as doing so adds to pollution problems of plastic too.
So, what do we do. First reduce buying disposables and replace these with environmentally friendly products whenever possible. Use your voice to let companies know that despite your loving their product, you are no longer willing to use their product or eat their food unless their containers are environmentally friendly. Choose wisely.
Stop using plastic water bottles right now. Buy a reusable bottle and filter your own water. You will save lots of money doing this (a maximum $0.10 per glass of water vs $1.00 plus for bottled water). I still have mine. It took time to train myself not to leave it behind. It is doable to remember your water bottle.
Be aware that many coffee shops used disposable cups often composed with plastic as an insulator.
Do things like turn off the water while brushing your teeth, save a flush, or shorten your showers for the water depth of your soak. A little here and a little there adds up. And pass the word as difficult as this may be. Be willing to be a little unpopular with some of your friends. We’re doing this for ourselves and for others, especially the generations that follow us.
Lastly, since many people around the world have difficulty finding clean water, The Water Project is working with local partners in these water scarce areas to bring clean, sustainable water supplies to within 1/2 mile of villages in need. Please help them. For more information, go to The Water Project.