The impact of plastic waste
Plastic waste significantly impact marine ecosystems. Aquatic animals such as turtles, fish and other species are entangled and often suffocate, causing severe injuries and deaths. Species also ingest plastic materials as they mistake them for food and prey. New habitats for smaller organisms are created, distorting the natural balance of marine ecosystems.
Humans are also affected in many ways. Plastic debris have found their ways into drinking water, salt, and into the bodies of widlife. Tiny particles such as chemicals and emissions from plastic production known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) have found their way into humans and wildlife causing developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune disorders.
Plastic waste impacts our livelihoods and tourism too. Tourists are likely to avoid places and beaches of poor waste disposal. Investors are less attracted to communities with poor waste management. Communities may also spend lots of money cleaning and maintaining communities with poor plastic disposal practices. Such expenditure could be directed to other important sectors such as health, education and technology that could enhance the wellbeing of the citizens.
Incineration of landfills with plastic waste releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Manufacturing of plastics and plastic products have a similar effect on the atmosphere. These gases add to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, worsening the effects on climates.
Our research for this topic included these sources:
1. Household air pollution and health. Fact sheet N°292. WHO, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/
2. Indoor Air Pollution. Medline Plus., http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/indoorairpollution.html
3. Indoor air. The Department of Environment, Australia: http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/environment-protection/air-quality/indoor-air
4. Indoor Air pollution, Edugreen. http://edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/air/indoor.htm