Apr 19, 2019 11:10 AM EDT
What place on earth is safe from plastic? The deepest pits of the Earth, in the ocean, and even in the highest peak, there are elements of plastic. The problem on plastic pollution has become so rampant that are some 35,700 feet beneath the sea lies a plastic bag. A plastic bag that is not usable nor biodegradable, just wandering in the wilderness, causing mischief to it's surroundings and habitants.
The call to ban the use of single-used plastic in the key cities in the world are becoming stronger. In fact, the use of rippable and mostly useless sacks in New York is to expected soon. And yet beyond the call to strengthen recycling practices, the society's seemingly addiction to the use of plastic bags gives birth to more problems than one can imagine. And because the production of these plastic bags use fossil fuels, the continues growth in its production and use could increase the levels of carbon emissions will double if not triple by 2050.
In a study published in the journal nature Climate Change, scientists wanted see what could happen in the future if the society avoided the use of plastic bags. They also wanted to find out what can be done to reduce the overall increase in carbon emissions across the continents. The study revealed that in order to limit the carbon emissions in the atmosphere from the use of plastics to its levels in 2015, it requires the undertaking of four huge steps.
People in the industry of plastic must be able to cut the demand for it by half. They must also try to produce plastic made from organic materials like plants. The industry must also try to generate its electricity for production from renewable resource. And lastly, they must reconsider a more sustainable recycling program.
"We need to scale up the effort in an unprecedented level," said Sangwon Suh, professor of the industrial ecology studies in the University of California and co-author of the study.
He also emphasized that if the strategies were not used together or were used one at a time, the efforts to help save the environment won't prove to be fruitful. This is why the scientists strongly recommend that all four practiced be adapted in the industry of plastics.
"Everything has become so plastic-oriented," said Mary Ellen Mallia, director for environmental sustainability efforts at the State University of Albany. Not all plastics produced are inherently bad. They come with a long list of uses too.
"I don't think there is a need to demonize plastic," said Suh. "However, it is important to emphasize that the consumers of these plastic products must understand the life cycle of it. Hopefully, knowledge and understanding of such would help them think twice about throwing plastic here and there." he added.
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