Why this petition matters
Imagine this: you go out for a walk. You walk in the streets, in the park, etc. Then, you start to notice something. As you walk, there is plastic all over the place. Plastic bags are floating and following the wind. There is so much plastic that is littered. Then, you look over to the beach. On one corner of the sand, there are plastic bags, bottles, and other plastic materials trashed and littered. Why? Plastic Pollution is one of the most urgent environmental issues in the world currently. According to a study, there are 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic in the world, with 6.3 billion metric tons of it trashed. Less than 10% of the plastic is recycled in the U.S., and landfills are filled with trashed plastic. Streets, parks, etc., are also filled with littered plastic. This is a huge problem because it takes up to 500 years for plastic to biodegrade. Many people believe that robots will pick up all the plastic on land and at sea, that is not possible. This is because plastic is littered way too much and the majority are gone to landfills. Plastics are also broken down into microscopic pieces, called microplastic, and even smaller, nanoplastic. So picking them up is near impossible. This will go on to worsen different types of pollutions, harm animals, and harm us, humans, as well.
First, it worsens many types of pollutions. The first type of pollution I want to talk about is water pollution, especially in the ocean. A lot of plastic ends up in the ocean, because rivers, lakes, etc. connect to oceans, wind picks up light weight plastic as well. "An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste estimated to be in our oceans. 70% of our debris sinks into the ocean's ecosystem." Reports an article by the condorferries.co.uk. In addition, plastic breaks down to microplastic, or even smaller, nanoplastic. Microplastic is 0.1 μm−5 mm in size, and nanoplastic is 0.001μm–0.1 μm. With these sizes, it is nearly impossible to clean these up. Many ocean mammals and animals suffer because of ocean pollution. If this continues, the ocean might turn into a huge garbage can. Next, I want to talk about land pollution. The majority of plastic that is littered or thrown away go to landfills. According to epa.gov, in 2018 alone, 27 million tons of plastic went to landfills. And according to unep.org, chlorinated plastic releases chemicals that are harmful to the surrounding soil. This is one of the many reasons why plastic is harmful for soil and land. Last but not least, air pollution. There are many reasons why plastic worsens air pollution and why if we ban plastic, we could reduce air pollution significantly. (1) is that there are so many factories that produce plastic and cause air pollution. Some people might say that plastic factories are not the only factories that cause air pollution, and we agree. But we would like to say that plastic does a lot of the damage. Supporting my claim, in the article: "Plastic Bags, Convenient and Cruel", an average of 500 plastic bags alone are used by Americans. And there are more than 16000 plastic manufacturing sites in the United States alone. Because there are so many consumers, there needs to be more factories. (2) is that there are harmful chemicals in plastic, and when it comes out, it floats around the air. This is exactly what burning plastic does. Since we breathe air, there is a chance that we would breathe that harmful chemical. (3) is that microplastic is floating around the air. This increases the risk of cancer, have chemicals that are bad for your organs, cause damage to human cells, such as sells dying and/or allergic reactions, metabolic disturbances, neurotoxicity, etc.
Second, plastic harms animals. As I mentioned, plastic is littered too much around the world. Winds pick up plastic on land, and rivers, lakes, etc., connect to the oceans. This can make plastic go to the ocean. These are examples of how plastic harms ocean animals/mammals. Turtles, seals, whales, birds, and other animals that live in the ocean mistake plastic as food and eat the plastic. This makes them choke, makes them full forever, and is significantly bad for their organs. Also, plastic could be attached to real food, having the same effect. As I mentioned before, when plastic breaks down to small pieces called microplastic. Fish can mistake them for bacteria and eat them. These fish could be caught by fishermen, and end up on our plates. And we eat them. I will talk more about this on my third reason. Other animals like tigers, zebras, rhinos, and many many other land animals were also found with plastic inside their body, more specifically, their organs. If this continues, many animals and mammals would go extinct. In fact, scientists estimated that plastic debris kills one million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals every year. If this continues, these numbers will go even larger and only increase, as if the population grows, more plastic would be littered. The only solution for this to not happen is to ban plastic.
Third, it harms humans. Microplastics end up in human organs, causing negative effects. There is plastic in foods we eat, ending up in our organs. To support my claim, the majority of the worlds' tap water contains plastic. Because of the air pollution caused by plastic and the plastic floating around the air, people breathe microplastic/nanoplastic. As I said, microplastic and nanoplastic increase the risk of cancer, have chemicals that are bad for your organs, cause damage to human cells, such as sells dying and/or allergic reactions, metabolic disturbances, neurotoxicity, etc. Also, the harm it has on animals, etc., mess up the food chain, having other negative effects. Here is my analysis. As I said earlier, a lot of animals would go extinct. People would consume a lot of vegetables because so much meat from the animals is gone. This may seem & sound good. However, people would lose protein, etc., becoming unhealthy. The demand for meat and people losing health forces people to kill animals for meat, leading to extreme animal killing, animals losing habitats, etc. And since most people eat vegetables then, more vegetables will be consumed. Making them rare because so many people eat them so much. This can lead to food shortages. Even in the best case scenario, we would have at least one of these problems. Believe it or not, this could be worse: people could have resource wars fighting for animals, food, etc. We could fail to find a new Earth and go extinct, etc. If we ban plastic now, we can solve this problem, or at least minimize the destruction. It is not too late.
There are other reasons why plastic should be banned, such as speeding up global warming, causing resource wars, etc. For all of these reasons, I believe plastic should be banned in our society. Some people might say that there are no possible alternatives for plastic bags because paper bags cause pollution in the process of making them. And I agree. However, in the long term, paper biodegrades, and plastic doesn't. There are some kinds of plastic that biodegrades, but it takes a very long time; 500 years. Also, there ARE other alternatives instead of paper. Such as stainless steel, bamboo, wood, etc. As I mentioned before, plastic worsens many types of pollutions, harms animals, and harms humans. This is why we should ban plastic. Why should we not ban them if they make a better future?