Plastic creates a big negative impact on the ecosystem. According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. Since plastic does not decompose this causes a huge impact on the ocean’s ecosystem. The NOAA says plastic causes damage to habitats that are critical to the survival of many species. Plastic in the ocean often catches onto fish and can cause severe damage or death.
The NOAA also outlines the economical impact of plastic in the ocean. When plastic is carelessly disposed of in the ocean it takes away the appeal in tourist cities that owe their tourism to the beauty of nature. No one likes trash it makes any place look run down and poorly maintained causing great economic impacts. Another important thing the NOAA outlines is the impact throwing trash in the ocean has on animals that consume it. Sometimes trash might be mistaken for food or accidently eaten which can lead to poisoning and even death for animals. Another issue this causes is when humans eat a fish that has been poisoned from plastic.
Plastic has caused huge problems for years luckily there are many organizations that work towards the collective goal of reducing the negative impact of plastic. Although there is a big effort being put in place its impossible to completely solve this issue while businesses still have a demand for plastic for their products.
According to cbs news just 4 of the worlds largest companies produces 6 million tons of plastic waste a year. Plastic is such a useful packaging tool that it is hard to completely remove its impact on the planet. Businesses like to use plastic because it is a cheap packaging tool and customers worldwide prefer products be wrapped in plastic, so they know whatever they buy is sealed and new.
Efforts to recycle plastic have had a big impact on limiting damage to the environment and recycling also has economical advantages. According to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017 recycling created 757,000 jobs. There have also been financial impacts $36.6 billion in wages and $6.7 billion in tax revenue was collected from jobs created to work in recycling. Not only does recycling help the environment but it also provides many jobs and tax revenue which goes in part to funding roads and schools.
Package recycling programs do help the issue but are not enough on their own. The good thing is some of the top plastic using companies are working to use recycled materials in part of their products. This is important to reduce the impact businesses have on the environment, but it is not enough. Even if every company used recycled materials there would still be a problem although it would be a good first step towards causing change in the environment.
In conclusion plastic has a big impact on the environment and it has far reaching consequences. A large worldwide effort is being made to reduce plastic use while other programs focus on reducing damage already caused by plastic and trying to limit future damage. While the current programs are not enough to prevent the damage completely as more companies switch to recycled materials and more programs are made I believe the issue of plastic and the environment will go away.
Essay by: Shawn Arthur
Texas State University