The Plastic Problem

by Emily P

Do you ever think about how much plastic you use and just throw away every day? I’m sure this article will.

300 million tons of plastic is produced globally every year, however only 10% of that is recycled annually. Out of the other plastic that is trashed 7 million tons of that waste ends up in the ocean.

I interviewed Year 7 Head of Year Mrs Taylor about this issue:

‘I hate it’ she said. ‘It causes damage to the environment.’ Mrs Taylor suggested that as a school we could make a BIG change. She suggested that we start using refillable pens and the canteen completely gets rid of plastic and swaps it out for recyclable cardboard. Mrs Taylor told me how everyone at Penrice should be educated about the dangers of plastic pollution and how harmful it can be to not only animals but also us as people.

Plastic and events

Marathons and other outdoor event organisers have been forced to pick up thousands of plastic bottles left by the competitors. The recent half marathon in Brighton caused the plastic bottles to fly into the sea. Brighton council said it was a discussion with the organisers over the ‘issues with litter at the event.’

More than 8000 runners took part in the half-marathon, with a plastic bottle in hand. There was a big clear up at the end of the event but lots of bottles had already been blown into the sea.

Plastic waste is one of many types of waste that take too long to biodegrade. Normally plastic takes around 1000 years to decompose in landfills, but plastic bags we use in everyday life can take anywhere from 10-1000 years to decompose while plastic bottles take 450 years or more.

My Plastic Free Vision

My opinion of plastic is that we as people should find new ways to make re-usable everything! You never realise how much damage you cause every day, but once you find out you have a complete lifestyle change.

I interviewed two students to get their opinions and the answers they gave me were so passionate.

Grace thinks there is more littered plastic today and companies are to blame: “companies are using more plastic in their everyday products and it isn’t recycled properly.’ I completely agree with her that unnecessary plastic is used every day.

I told Daisy about the way athletes play a big part and she said: “The athletes should change the way that they act, they should be setting an example to the younger generation.” She agreed with Mrs Taylor and thought that swapping out plastic for other materials in the canteen was a great idea.

I also asked our school nurse if she thought that plastic pollution could affect our health in the future.

The first word she said to me was ‘yes!’ We spoke about how the water that gets bottled up for us contains particles of plastic. Scientists have not got any evidence that ingesting small pieces of plastic can cause harm, but understanding the potential health threats as the pollution gets worse.

I hope that this has changed the way you act towards reducing plastic pollution and I hope that you can tell a friend about how important it is to think about plastic.

Picture: FireNews