Did you know that 165 million tons of plastic fill the world? Furthermore, of that plastic, only 9% is recycled? Plastic has affected the world in many ways. It has helped our economy but also damaged the environment. That’s why governments should ban single-use plastics as it reduces plastic contamination, saves other animal species, and helps the economy.
First, a ban on single-use plastics will reduce plastic contamination. Ella MacArthur Foundation estimates that in 2050, there will be 937 million tons of plastic compared to 895 million tons of fish. That’s more plastic than fish, and it’s mostly because plastic has increased by 20-fold in the last 50 years. Plastic may have changed our lives, but it has also ‘overpopulated’ Earth. When we tested the PM 2.5 from a burning single-stick of plastic in science class, the PM 2.5 went above the largest value on the device. Plus, plastic also releases many chemical toxins (e.g. BPA and PS oligomer, shown by the College of Pharmacy in Japan) and takes 1,000 years to decompose. Imagine how much a ban on single-use plastic would do. When Washington put a 5-cent tax on plastic, it reduced plastic by 85%. That’s a lot of plastic reduced just through a simple ban, and Washington’s only a state in the US. Banning plastic by governments worldwide would do a great and just thing for the Earth and reduce plastic contamination by a lot.
Secondly, single-use plastics harm other animal species and eventually, us. Over 1,000,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution, annually. But, that’s only in the ocean. 318 animal species extinction were A cause of pollution 318 animal species wiped off the surface of the Earth never to be seen again, because of pollution. Many, from plastic pollution, or worse, plastic ingestion. A 2019 case study proved that 100% of animals dead on the UK coast had died from ingesting plastic. So could humans. As humans eat other animals, which eat other animals, and some of those may have eaten plastic. For example, maybe the tuna you ate for lunch had eaten other animals that ingested plastic. WWF has even shown that a person consumes 5 grams of plastic a week. When you ingest plastic, the plastic doesn’t digest, it stays there until it kills you or until you die. We could end up like the animals on the UK coast.
Finally, single-use plastic contributes to the loss of economic value period now some people may say that a ban on single-use plastic actually damages the economy because we rely on plastic so much. The Earth Policy Institute does say that we use 1 trillion single-use plastics every year, 2 million a minute, so yes, we do rely on plastic. However, plastic damages the economy more. 80-120 billion US dollars’ worth of plastic material value is lost to the economy each year. An example is California. California has spent 25 million dollars on landfill discarded plastic bags and 0.5 billion dollars to prevent entry of plastic in waterways. A ban on single-use plastics would save these problems and save the economy. Plus, the ban would be directed at single-use plastic, not all plastics. This way it won’t affect the economy as much.
A ban on single-use plastic is important and takes us a step closer to saving the Earth. Imagine a world where plastic is everywhere and where the only species on Earth is us, humans. There would be no vibrant colors, no wildlife, no nature. It doesn’t sound like a happy place, and yet, that could be the future world for us in our grandchildren. Plastic has done good but also abominated our world, our home, our Earth. After all, no one wants plastic to take over our planet Earth, to destroy it. It’s what a ban on single-use plastic will prevent. It’s why governments should ban single-use plastic as it will save millions even billions of animal lives, reduce plastic contamination, and Lastly, save the economy.