Opinion: Excessive reliance on plastic items harms the environment

While global warming and climate change are controversial topics that have led to heated debates over the past few years, few people have contributed to helping the environment. Instead, they may add to the adverse climatic changes.

In February, Texas faced one of its coldest and snowiest days in over 40 years, and a recent study led by Atmospheric and Environmental Research found connections between the snow storm and global warming.

One of the main culprits of global warming is plastic, which has become such an integral part of humans’ lives that sometimes we fail to realize how much we consume it. The pandemic added to the problem because of the increasing usage of disposable plastic masks and gloves.

Using plastics is a major cause of climate change. Plastic waste, whether it be in a river, ocean or on land, can persist in the environment for centuries.

There is not a single day I don’t find plastic water bottles, bags or masks carelessly littered while going for a walk. Even recycling does not work, as only 9% of the total plastic waste gets recycled in the U.S, and the rest goes to landfills, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With the current use rate of plastic, beaches could contain more plastic than fish by 2050, which is just 29 years from now. Oceans are already in deep trouble with increasing temperatures and plastic junk, according to American oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

Humans are experiencing the impact of plastic waste as well. The pollution caused by plastics has made the Earth more difficult to live in since it has eroded our nature and raised global temperatures.

People should consider the impact on future generations by not using plastics and opting for sustainable options. While plastic is cheap and convenient, it does not benefit anyone in the long term.

Instead, people should opt for refillable non-plastic water bottles, bring reusable cloth bags for groceries, avoid using plastic straws and utensils and consider using cloth masks.

People need to start prioritizing healthy living over convenience because it’s selfish to ignore the current environment that is becoming more difficult to live in.

There is plenty of information out there regarding sustainable living. All people have to do is push themselves to be more aware, make the necessary changes and encourage others to do the same. It starts with every single person.

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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