Business is booming.

How plastics contribute to climate change

The climate crises the world is facing has called for a new front on the war on plastic to curb plastic environmental excesses, as the world also try to curb fossil fuel use.

Right now, the world is not only frowning at disposable bags and plastic bottles, but the entire plastics and packaging industries.

This is because the effects of our single-use plastic addiction are glaring and destructive as our appetite for plastic keeps increasing, thereby growing the demand for the petrochemical products.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Plastic pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change.

Over 380 million tons of plastic are produced every year for use in a wide variety of applications. At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments and marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and death.

We all know that plastic pollution is a big problem and many countries lack the infrastructure to prevent plastic pollution, which results in a dramatic increase of plastic found on the shorelines of every continent, with more plastic waste found near popular tourist destinations and densely populated areas.

Getting rid of all these plastics is a major problem for the planet as much of the plastic that doesn’t make it to the recycling plant ends up in our rivers and ocean, landfill for incineration, or is just dumped.

Not only is this a danger to the animals and plants whose habitats have become aquatic garbage patches, but it also poses a threat to the climate, as plastic releases greenhouse gases as it slowly breaks down. Also, Sunlight and heat cause it to release methane and ethylene at an increasing rate as the plastic breaks down into ever smaller pieces.

Again, open burning of waste of which plastic is always included, is common in many parts of the world and is a major source of air pollution. Burning plastics releases a cocktail of poisonous chemicals – Black carbon is one such serious pollutant – that affects the health the people exposed to the polluted air. According to experts, it has a global warming potential up to 5,000 times greater than carbon dioxide.

A key to tackling the problem of plastic pollution is simply resolving that plastic that can’t be eliminated from the system needs to be reusable, recyclable or compostable. And this requires significant investment in collection and reprocessing infrastructure.

The good news is, world leaders are unanimously joining this fight with the recent historic resolution at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in Nairobi to End Plastic Pollution and endorsement to forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024, which is expected to reflect diverse alternatives to address the full lifecycle of plastics, the design of reusable and recyclable products and materials, and the need for enhanced international collaboration to facilitate access to technology, capacity building and scientific and technical cooperation.

Quality journalism costs money. Today, we’re asking that you support us to do more. Support our work by sending in your donations.

The donation can be made directly into NatureNews Account below

Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria


NatureNews Online

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Footer Image