Believe it or not, but plastic bottles are one of the biggest causes of environmental damage in the world, with over 1,5900 plastic water bottles consumed every second in the United States. But some perhaps don’t know why it’s so bad for Animals, the environment or even Humans. So here’s why exactly.
The Human Threat
It’s no secret that plastic bottles contain BPA (Bisphenol A), which has been proven to be hazardous to Human health. It has been strongly linked to a host of health problems including certain types of cancer, neurological difficulties, early puberty in Girls, reduced fertility in Women, premature labour and defects in newborn babies. But they also contain Phthalates, which are commonly used in countries like the US to make plastics such as Polyvinyl Chloride. They disrupt the endocrine system in the body that lead to a wide range of developmental and reproductive effects, including reduced sperm count, testicular abnormalities and tumours, as well as gender development issues.
The Animal Threat
Currently, plastic bottle tops aren’t recyclable, similarly to plastic bags. This means that they usually end up at the bottom of the ocean, and in the stomachs of a variety of Animal species that mistake them for food. For example, an Albatros was discovered dead on a Hawaiian island with a stomach filled with 119 bottle caps. It gets much worse, of course. A Sperm Whale was found on a North American beach. Now you’re probably thinking “What on Earth happened to bring down a Sperm Whale?”, right? Well, the Animals’ body was full of plastic material including bottles, bottle caps and plastic bags, none of which were causing any problems. However, a gallon bottle had plugged up its’ small intestine. It took a single gallon bottle to kill one of the biggest creatures on Earth.
The Environmental Threat
Plastic bottles are made from a petroleum product known as Polyethylene Terephthalate. They require huge amounts of fossil fuels to both make and transport them. In the 1970’s, the US was the worlds’ largest exporter of oil, but now it is the largest importer. If you fill a plastic bottle with liquid so that it is 25% full, that’s how much oil it took to make the bottle. For a single-use disposable item, that’s a lot. Also, it’s harder to recycle plastic bottles than most think. Of the mass numbers of plastic bottles consumed throughout the world, a staggering majority of them are not recycled because only certain types of plastic bottles can be recycled by certain municipalities. So, they either end up lying stagnant in landfills, leaching dangerous chemicals into the ground or are thrown onto pavements, parks, front yards, back yards, lakes and rivers. Even if they’re chopped up into tiny pieces, they still take more than a Human lifetime to decompose.
Plastic bottles pose a bigger threat to the environment that many may think. Every year, our world loses part of itself, as it is slowly covered and choked by our trash. But it’s not too late. We can still fight to save the environment. Buying eco-friendly bottles, reusing plastic bottles and recycling as much as you can are only a few ways to help save the environment. Thanks for reading.