Plastic is a fairly new material, it was invented around 100 years ago but became popular in the 1960s. Doesn’t it seem crazy to picture a world without plastic?! Nowadays, it is in most everyday items including teabags, chewing gum, clothing, beer, sunscreen and even food. So, how did it become so popular so quickly?
Before plastic bags existed, people used to use paper bags which were handy... until the contents got too heavy or it started to rain! Paper was also more expensive to produce than plastic. Not only was plastic more convenient but also cheaper, of course, people would make the switch!
To this day, there are still many benefits to using plastic however, it is one of the most damaging materials we could use. This is due to the fact that it sticks around in the environment for a very long time, harming our oceans, animals and even us humans. Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues. In fact, people have started going back to using paper bags!
Every single year, 380 million tons of plastic is made, around 50% of this is created for single-use purposes meaning they will be used once and then forgotten about for centuries. This not only contributes to global warming but has an effect on our health due to the toxic chemicals let out. Plastic pollution has been known to cause stress, apoptosis, and necrosis, which are linked to an array of negative health outcomes including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. If we don’t act now who knows what will happen?
The solution is to cut down on single-use plastics, stop purchasing supermarket carrier bags (instead take a reusable one), volunteer at beach clean ups and sign relevant petitions.