Why plastic is good for the environment?

How plastic affects the environment for children

This work is part of the author’s research interests as a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the ISC3 (International Collaborative Center for Sustainable Chemistry in Bonn, Germany) and as a scientist concerned about environmental pollution in Chile and the world.

Although the report addresses different aspects, this column will focus on one specific subject: plastic, due to the importance that the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean and its effects on marine life and human beings, but also on the terrestrial environment, has gained importance. I will then analyze the enormous costs that plastic represents in terms of water and other energies, including the economic cost of its enormous life cycle (which is little talked about, as it shows that it is a more expensive material than we think) and the lack of technology to control it. I will also address the importance of rethinking how and why we should change our habits regarding the consumption of this material in order to establish a new relationship with nature.

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Causes of plastic pollution

The use of plastic is unsustainable and is a clear example of the impacts of the throwaway culture. Therefore, it is necessary to go to the source of the problem and, first, reduce the amount of plastic that is put into circulation and then bet on reuse. There is already a growing movement of people around the world who are committing to a lifestyle free of single-use plastics.

It calls on supermarkets to eliminate plastic packaging in their fruit and vegetables, to provide sustainable alternatives for buying their food products and to encourage bulk sales.

Current use of plastic

On the other hand, containment measures have drastically reduced the demand for oil, pushing oil prices to historic lows. As a result, the cost of producing virgin plastics can be lower than that of recycled materials.

“The impacts of this pandemic have been devastating (on the fight against plastic) and it’s going to take us a very, very long time to really understand its long-term consequences,” said Juliano Calil, lead author of the report, during its launch.

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The impacts of the global closure have also been severe for the most vulnerable waste pickers. In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, these people can no longer sell recyclable materials, as most scrap yards and other businesses that buy them have been closed for months.

From oil extraction to plastic disposal, there are three main external impacts: ecosystem degradation due to leakage, especially in the marine environment; emissions of fossil fuels and toxic substances from the production and incineration of disposed materials; and impacts on health and the environment (including loss of biodiversity).

Environmental impact of plastic on the environment pdf

-The academics José Neira and Patricio Ulloa from the School of Natural Resources Engineering of the Universidad Católica del Maule, analyze the regulations adopted to protect the environment and provide recommendations to contribute to the care of our natural spaces.

On August 3, Law 21.100, which prohibits the use of single-use plastic bags in commerce, began to be fully implemented. This is positive news that allows us to have an environmentally friendly culture and contribute to decontaminate our oceans, but are these actions enough?

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It should be noted that there are also other ways to contribute individually to reduce the environmental impact generated by the use of plastic, such as, for example, reducing or avoiding the consumption of single-use plastic, preferring products packaged in reusable and/or recyclable plastics, if possible paper or glass.