Essay Example on Effects of Plastic on the Environment

Published: 2023-01-12
Essay Example on Effects of Plastic on the Environment
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Environment Pollution Global warming
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1918 words
16 min read


The environment surrounds human beings and other living things. The state of the environment directly affects human beings and other living things. When there is a good environment, the health of the living organisms will be maintained. However, when there is a decline in the state of the environment, most of these living things are likely to suffer from the situation, and they will die. Various factors can enhance or destroy the environment. However, in the present day, there are a lot of issues that hurt the environment, and different people still ignore them. According to North and Halden (8), ignorance is the main issue that has led to an increased rate of environmental degradation in the past few years because no one wants to take the required measures to protect it. Among various issues that have been identified to be the main cause of environmental pollution, plastic is one of the elements that have been identified because they are widely used and they take a long time to decompose. The world is filled with plastics that is generated from various sources. Most products that are produced by different companies are either wrapped or packaged in plastic materials. After people have used these plastics, they tend to dispose of them anywhere rather than their designated places. As a result, there has been an accumulation of different types of plastics on the surface of the earth. Many people, organizations and associations have recommended the banning of these plastics because they continue to affect the environment in negative ways (North and Halden 8). However, there are others who insist that their world cannot exist without plastics; hence they should not be done away with altogether. As much as plastics continue to be used and dumped in the environment, they continue to be harmful to the environment in various ways.

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Emission of Toxic Chemicals

The amount of plastics that are found on the surface of the earth has been on the increase lately. According to Auta, Emenike, and Fauziah (165), one of the ways these plastics are negatively affecting the environment is that they release toxic chemicals. Plastics are produced from the combination of different chemicals, and when they are disposed of, they will start to release these chemicals into the environment.

Most of the chemicals that are used to manufacture these plastics are toxic (Auta, Emenike and Fauziah 166). After these toxic chemicals have been produced, they might be swept to the water sources went it rains or sink underground and mix with the underground water. Human beings use these water sources and underground water for various purposes (Auta, Emenike and Fauziah 166). These sources of water will be contaminated and will harmful effects to the living organisms such as human beings when they use these water obtained from these sources for drinking.

Also, when these toxic chemicals have sunk in the ground, agricultural activities will be hampered. These chemicals will reduce the fertility of the land that used to be very productive (Auta, Emenike and Fauziah 166). The toxic chemicals that are released by these plastics might affect the plants and prevent them from growing. Therefore, when people plant different crops, they will not grow well.

Contribution to Global Warming

The second harmful effect of plastics on the environment is that it has contributed to global warming (Thompson 186). Global warming is has emerged to be the biggest problem that the world is currently facing. People use different types of plastics for various purposes. After they have used them, most of these plastics are disposed of carelessly. The disposal of these plastics may accumulate in certain areas resulting in landfill that are filled with different types of plastics.

These landfill areas may contain microorganisms which may react with these plastics and speed their biodegradation (Thompson 186). These microorganisms may contain different types of bacteria such as Flavobacteria, Pseudomonas and nylon eating bacteria and when these bacteria interact with the plastics and break the nylon through a process that is referred to as nylonase enzymes (Auta, Emenike and Fauziah 166). As these biodegradable plastics are broken down by the bacteria, it will produce methane gas.

Methane is one of the most powerful greenhouses that is the significant contributor to global warming (Thompson 186). If there are no enough trees to take up the harmful gasses, they will accumulate in the atmosphere resulting in global warming. Global warming will lead to severe effects such as rising temperature which will, in turn, affect the living organisms in the environment.

Presence of Micro Plastics

The other way that plastics are harmful to the environment is through micro plastics. Micro plastics are small elements of plastics that are have disintegrated (Rochman 117). These micro plastics may be deposited on the environment especially in the water bodies. The current approximation of the tons of plastics that is in the water bodies stands at 165 million (Rochman 117). These micro plastics are small, and they cannot be seen leading to a high volume of it on the environment. When these plastics dissolve on the water bodies, they release toxic chemicals which may them endanger the marine life as well as human beings who might use the water for various reasons. The fish may consume these micro plastics that are available on the surface of the water.

According to the food chain, human beings consume fish at the end. With a large number of micro plastics on the water bodies, there is a high chance that the fish consumed by human beings can have some plastics in them. These plastics will then affect the health of human beings after they have consumed these fish. One of the most health conditions that can be experienced is the respiratory problems after these plastics have accumulated in the body of these organisms (Rochman 117).

Entanglement of Living Organism

The third reason that explains why plastic is harmful to the environment is entanglement. The high number of plastics on the environment may cause many animals to be caught within the plastics debris (Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy 701). As a result, these animals may not be able to remove themselves. Hence they cannot move. It is estimated that most of the animals die due to entanglement with plastics.

For example, fish and other water organisms might get caught in the plastic debris that is found on the ocean water, and they may find it difficult to move. As a result, these organisms will drown. Also, there are animals on the surface of the earth that may get entangled on these plastics, and they may suffocate. The other way that plastics may harm these animals is that some times, these micro plastics may be blown into trees or other plants that are used by animals for food(Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy 701). When these animals consume these plants, they will be eating plastics without knowing. In the end, these plastics may accumulate in their systems and affect the functioning of their body thereby causing their death (Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy 701).

Emission of Chemical during Manufacture

Plastic is harmful to the environment because of the chemicals that are released during its manufacture. These plastics are manufactured in industries, and it constitutes various processes. These processes involve the use of various chemicals and products that are mixed to manufacture these plastics (Gregory 2023). While these processes are underway, there are a lot of gasses that are produced.

Most of these gasses will accumulate in the atmosphere and poses a harmful effect on human beings. For instance, human beings will inhale these gases and later they will develop breathing problems or lung complications. According to Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy (701), there are some cases whereby these gases will mix with other components that are found in the atmosphere to form a harmful gas.

According to (Gregory 2023), when it rains, these gases are dissolved and the fall on the earth surface. The water may get in contact with plants may scorch them due to the chemicals that are present (Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy 701). When human beings get in contact with the water, they may experience different sorts of complications such as skin cancer because of these chemicals.

Air Pollution

The fifth reason why plastic is harmful to the environment is that they lead to air pollution. When burned, these plastics will release a high amount of toxins. These toxins will accumulate in the air, and they will result in problems such as respiratory complications in human beings (Jalil, Mian and Rahman 5). Not only are human beings going to be affected by this air pollution, but also animals. Since all the animals breathe in and out, they will consume the air that has been poisoned by the toxins which were produced when the plastic has been burned.

Blocking Drainage Systems

Blocking drainage systems is the other factor which explains why plastics is harmful in the environment (Jalil, Mian and Rahman 5). Drainage systems are important because they help to get rid of water and raw sewage. The increased rate of plastic use has attributed to the rise in careless disposal. Most people after that have used these plastics; they will dispose of them anywhere rather than the designated place especially in the urban centers (Jalil, Mian and Rahman 5).

Some of these plastics when they are thrown away, they will all on the way of these drainage systems. When these plastics are not removed, they will accumulate within these drainage channels. According to Jalil, Mian and Rahman (5) the rainy season may come, and when it rains, these plastic materials will prevent the water from flowing along with the drainage systems. Since the water cannot flow, it will accumulate on the surface of the earth and may result in calamities such as flooding which may cause the death of human beings, animals and the destruction of property.

Counter Argument

As much as these plastics have harmful effects on the environment, some people believe that they have some benefits. One of the benefits is that these plastics have a low impact on the environment as compared to paper (Grover et al.1091). For a paper to be produced, several trees have to be cut down cutting down of trees is an act of environmental degradation.

When there are no trees on the surface of the earth, there will be increased cases of global warming due to the high amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. Also, the product produced from plastics are less durable; hence they can easily be disposed of. The other advantage of plastics is that they can be recycled easily. After plastics have been used, they can be used for other functions before they are disposed of. The third issue that explains why plastic is beneficial to the environment is that they last long.

Since plastics stay for a long period, there is a high chanced that the presence of trash will be minimal. Also, plastics are useful to the environment because there are those that have been manufactured and they are biodegradable (Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy 701). This concept means that these plastics decompose when they are thrown ways. These plastics will not release the toxic chemicals that endanger the environment as well as the organism living in it (Verma, Vinoda and Papireddy 701).

Concluding, it is evident that the presence of plastics on the environment has a lot of negative effects compared to the benefits. There is a high number of people who use plastics or products that have been developing from plastics daily. After they have used these plastics, they will get disposed anyhow.

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