“South Africa is the 11th worst global offender of leaking land-based plastic into the ocean” Photo
Johannesburg – The world continues to be on a slow burn as we neglect the importance of reducing or replacing plastic waste. Recent studies reveal that they expect plastic waste to triple by the year 2060. Though this may seem like a small issue, there is a severe impact of plastic pollution on the lives of us and wildlife.
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, along with the emissions of greenhouse gases. The topic of climate change is trending. We have seen the impact it has had on weather patterns. Climate change was one of the main causes of the devastating floods that hit KZN in April earlier this year. Plastic waste in the 1970’s had doubled and by the time we hit the 2000’s it began to increase. Now we are entering the 2020’s and we are on the verge of causing it to triple. Faizal Essop, from the Bush Xplorers, explains the severity of plastic waste.
“It’s shocking the impact plastic has on the marine life and on the environment. I know several things like plastic water bottles, straws, plastic bags, even old tires, and cigarette butts these things don’t decay and rot. They have a very negative impact on human life and animal life all around the Globe. They said global plastic waste is estimated to triple by 2060 and they say less than half, less than a fifth only gets recycled.”
The impact of plastic waste on human and animal life
The impact of plastic waste on the environment affects humans and animals far greater than people expect. Humans and animal life are a part of an ecosystem that lives off the environment. A polluted environment means we will face the brunt of it. Essop explains how plastic waste affects humans and wildlife.
“A lot of these animals sometimes feed on plastic. You see pictures of ducks feeding on plastics or you’ll see a lion sitting on a plastic water bottle, it’s going to have an impact on them going forward and yet it’s one of the reasons that these animals [could possibly go] extinct. A study done the other day said in every human being they found microplastics in their system. Nobody’s going to go eat tires or plastic, but it become part of our nature. It’s become part of our system. It can and will be a reason for us becoming sick.”
How to reduce or replace plastic waste
Recently we have seen multiple businesses that have opted for sustainable packaging in comparison to plastic packaging and plastic straws. None of these businesses have been able to implement this on a large enough scale. The fight against the problem starts in our communities and there are things that can be done to combat this such as making use of recycling bins, applying netting to a drainage system that catches anything that’s in the water and make use of the 3R’s (reduce, re-use, recycle).
If the community and the government can band together and ensure proper education is done on this topic, we will be able to see the change we need.