There’s no way around it: plastic is convenient. Don’t have a bag? Here’s a bag. Need a cup? Here’s a cup; oh, and a straw, too! Can’t hold that to-go salad in your hands? Here’s a plastic container! Don’t want to carry it with you? Just toss it in the trash. Ah, convenience!
Not so fast. Plastic isn’t convenient for everyone. That plastic doesn’t just disappear once we throw it in the trash. Instead, it travels to the landfill, and then, most likely, to the ocean. While we often focus on the impact plastic has on marine animals – after all, around 700 marine species are faced with extinction due to entanglement and choking – there’s also a whole lot of plastic that litters the terrestrial habitats of land animals.
With over 300 million tons of plastic materials coming into circulation every year, it’s no surprise that plastic has a similar effect on land animals. The impacts felt by these animals closely mirrors those of marine animals – death by entanglement, as well as accidental consumption.
Take, for example, this deer in South Delhi, India, who has mistaken a plastic bag for a snack.
Animals may mistake plastic for food, or they may consume plastic in the process of eating the leftover food it contains. Plastic consumption may cause intestinal blockages. And death is the ultimate tragedy for animals that consume plastic. This is an unacceptable consequence of our careless habits.
But consumption isn’t the only threat. An animal with its head stuck in a plastic food container may suffer from overheating, suffocation, dehydration, starvation, and eventual death. Moreover, entanglement could inhibit an animal from performing basic and vital tasks, like foraging, walking, or in this bird’s case, flying.
So next time you opt for a plastic container or plastic bag, remember the faces of these innocent animals!
How Else Can You Help?
While efforts are being made to remove debris from the oceans and on land, improve recycling systems, and innovate barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all take action in our daily lives to stop plastic waste at the source.
“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But is it worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source and give marine life a fighting chance,” says Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet.
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
All Image Source: Surya Prakash/Hindustan Times