For a person living in the 21st century, it is nearly impossible to imagine life without using plastic. That is why it is quite often quoted that, “Plastic is the fourth essential necessity, after the three basic necessities of life.” The palpable fact is that be it for carrying commodities, packing items or for storing essentials, it is plastic that is more often than not the go-to solution for any individual. And the obvious reason for it is the fact that plastic is lighter, making it easier for people to carry it, and most importantly, it is cheap which makes it commercially viable. Whether at a place of residence or a place work, most items are made of plastic.
All of this makes plastic one of the highest used materials in the world. However, there is another angle associated with the usage of plastic that some people, intentionally or unintentionally, try to ignore, and that is the catastrophic effects of plastic on the biodiversity as well as on the planet as a whole. The fact which most of the educated people are aware of is the paramount concept of the ‘food chain.’ If you haven’t heard of the concept, you simply have to flip through the pages of an environmental science textbook. Nature is designed in a manner where one living being is dependent on another, and in this chain, human beings too occupy a pivotal place. But if by any means this chain is disturbed, the whole ecological balance would be in disarray and the conspicuous fact is that, directly or indirectly, the usage of plastic by human beings is destroying the balanced food chain. However, the pivotal question is:
How Is Plastic Affecting The Food Chain?
The lack of civic sense and carelessness amongst some human beings has made them believe that the throwing of plastic waste like bottles, polythene bags etc. anywhere and at any time is not a big issue. However, while believing so, they completely tend to forget the fact that those plastic items might be swallowed by animals, and that could lead to their death due to choking.
This attitude of human beings has unfortunately destroyed the lives of many aquatic animals. The recent case of the death of a whale due to plastic consumption in Southern Spain is a tragic example of this. Videos circulating on social media showing tortoises being operated on because of plastic accumulation in their nostrils. Moreover, the astonishing fact is that India itself generates 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually according to a report by swachhindia.ndtv.com. Taking the stats into consideration, we can simply imagine the amount of plastic waste the world produces as a whole.
However, now it is high time that some substantial steps are taken globally or by individual countries in order to tackle this grave issue.
A little bit of effort on the part of humans can go a long way in eradicating the threat imposed upon the environment by the usage of plastic. Furthermore, in the current context, the problem of plastic wastage is regarded as a serious threat to the environment, even bigger than the threat of nuclear wastage. Experts have already estimated that in the near future, plastic wastage would turn hectares and hectares of fertile soil into barren lands. And the particular case of the death of a whale due to the consumption of 40 KGs of plastic debris has once again questioned the logic of human beings.
Plastic, in appearance, might not look that threatening, but in reality, it can seriously lead to the extinction of many species including human beings. But the sad fact is that no one can provide the perfect solution for this problem since the use of plastic is an indispensable element of our day-to-day lives. Thus in the near future, it would be interesting to see the steps taken by the countries to reduce the drastic impact of plastic upon the environment. However, in the present time, more than anything else, it is the change in the human attitude while dealing with plastic that could turn out to be a game-changer. But if the opposite happens, then slowly human beings would directly invite their doomsday.