Plastic bags. Photo contributed
Plastic bags. Photo contributed Contributed

Plastic packaging: an environmental epidemic

HUMANS are passengers on Planet Earth… and, let's face it, rude ones.

Humans treat the planet as a resource, something to be consumed, used to create economy, material goods and resources; used for human survival, status and power..

We create irreversible planetary changes, often for something as unnecessary as plastic packaging. We use plastic packaging to wrap… well, everything, and every piece created is still out there.

Plastic never dies; it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces ending up in animals, water, soil, ecosystems and our bodies… it is even in space.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest man-made environmental problems Planet Earth has ever faced.

We are often disconnected to our role in this, not understanding the link between our use and an environmental epidemic.

The amount we use is staggering: over 300 million tonnes being produced annually - an amount and an effect that is impossible to comprehend or predict, most of it, unnecessary and avoidable.

Australia produces more than 1.3 million tonnes of plastic each year - more than 71 kg for every person. 69% of plastic waste comes from packaging and materials handling (www.clarence.nsw.gov.au)

Plastics include a variety of chemicals that are linked to adverse human health effects, including in utero, hormonal, metabolic and sexual development disruption, cancer, neurological and immune suppression, obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, allergy and respiratory problems… and this is to name but a few.

To add to this, heavy metals and chemicals LOVE plastic. These toxic substances come from our worldwide industrial practices and are attracted to plastic… like ants to honey. This leads to an array of other health issues around heavy metal and chemical poisoning. Bioaccumulation (the accumulation of a substance in an organism) means that in larger animals (like you) these levels of toxins are concentrated. Studies show heavy contamination of chemicals related to plastics and industrial practices, in humans, ecosystems and even geology. This insidious, slow poisoning of the Earth and of ourselves can be curbed by our consumer choices.

Your choices matter. You have a choice…. So choose.

Unexpected things happen when we interfere with the evolution of these intricate balances of Planet Earth.

Every consumer choice you make has an impact. Consider the impact you are having and make conscious ethical decisions. Look at all your consumer choices, what can you learn, live without, change and how can you contribute to a better future.

Be grateful to have a seat on this planet hurtling through space. Respect.


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