Academic Master

Environmental Science

Plastic Water Bottle Usage

Introduction

The invention of plastic has done more harm than good to the world. It may be a cheaper way introduced by the inventors to contain stuff, but it is causing harm to the earth on a completely different level. Plastic, although it has a lower melting point, naturally decomposes in about half a thousand years. The most common use of plastic is in the form of plastic water bottles. Since the introduction of the filtered water bottle, the marketing schemes and the overall opinion construction have made people believe that drinking tap water is unsafe and unhygienic. However, it is not being realized that the use of filtered plastic water bottles in place of tap water is doing more harm to the people and to the environment.

Discussion

In mid-2017, Forbes reported that human beings buy a million bottles per minute globally. It was also mentioned that recent reports and statistics estimated the selling of over a trillion plastic bottles by 2020.

Plastic water bottles are made of polymeric material, which takes about 400 years to decompose on its own. This slow decomposition rate enables it to cause harm to the environment over a longer period. Recycling is one of the good aspects of plastics that may solve most of the problems, but it is not utilized. It has been reported that about 91% of the plastic produced is not properly recycled. This may include those plastic bottles that, instead of being recycled, get downcycled. This does not do any good to the environment. It just introduces smaller microplastics to the environment, which could potentially cause even more harm to the environment.

Hazards

Plastics mostly find their way into the ocean in smaller sizes, appearing as food for the sea life. If even one of the sea animals eats the harmful substance, it will disturb the whole food chain. The food chain, for instance, usually ends up with the fish being cooked by human beings for food. Therefore, plastic disposal through water bottles is not only harmful to sea life but also to human beings at the end of the food chain.

Animals and birds that look for food on the land often swallow the non-decomposing plastic from the ground. Instead of getting filled up with food, these animals are starved or poisoned to death (Moore).

Plastic water bottles are added to the environment in great numbers each day. Being naturally slow decomposing, they remain in the environment until something is done with them. Formation of Leachate (a toxic water chemical) is common due to the non-dealt with plastic water bottles. The formation of the ‘great Pacific garbage patches’ in the ocean is another one of the examples of plastic water bottle pollution.

Solutions

There are many practical solutions to the dilemma of plastic water bottles. One of the first solutions to this problem is the stoppage of plastic usage at its source. This can be done by institutionally banning the use of plastic water bottles or by banning the production of plastic bottles. Recycling plastic is another key solution to this problem, which will utilize the wasted plastic and reduce hazards. The reintroduction of drinking water systems may also be done by replacing filtered plastic water bottles with drinking fountain systems. The HSU Take Back The Tap (TBTT), one of the student-led campaigns, is striving against water privatization and is serving the purpose of bringing back clean tap water drinking systems through the provision of refillable water bottle stations (Nace n.p). Steps like these on a larger scale to change the drinking ways of the people would help to cope up with the plastic water bottles problem.

Conclusions

The use of plastic water bottles has alarmingly increased globally and is posing a threat to the environment. Due to the low decomposition rate, plastic water bottles are causing harm to both the land and the sea life. But no problem comes without a solution, and plastic water bottles come with a solution, too, i.e. recycling. Recycling, if done properly and globally, can certainly ward off the harms of the use of plastic. Moreover, the prevention of the use of plastic water bottles should be taken into serious consideration as it will save the earth from a large number of environmental hazards.

Works Cited

Moore, Charles. Seas Of Plastic. TED, 2009.

“Take Back The Tap | Waste-Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) | Humboldt State University.” Www2.humboldt.edu. N. p., 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2018.

Nace, T. “We’re Now At A Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute – 91% Of Which Are Not Recycled.” Forbes.com. N. p., 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2018.

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