Life in Plastic, It’s Not Fantastic
Author: Responsible Business News / Date: 6 August 2023
Kids & adults alike are eager to enter a glittering world of plastic paradise with the release of the new Barbie movie. However, the glitzy Barbieland reflects a less-than-fantastic reality: our planet's constant reliance on plastic.
The world has been seduced by the simplicity and affordability that plastic offers, producing our own synthetic nightmare, much like Barbie’s everlasting appeal. Behind the façade of convenience and comfort, humanity’s reliance on plastic has terrible effects on the environment and society.
Over 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic have been created since the 1950s, 79% of which is still in landfills or is dispersed across the environment. Over half of all plastic has been manufactured in the last 13 years, and global production is only increasing. Additionally, more than 500 billion new plastic bags are generated annually, or more than a million bags each minute. Our planet is flooded by plastic wherever we turn, just as in Barbieland.
Unchecked plastic manufacture has a harmful impact on the environment. 40% of all plastic manufactured is single-use plastic, which is used once and then discarded to end up in landfills or find its way into waterways and other natural areas. Since plastic cannot decompose, it has collected all around us, harming our ecosystems.
8 million tonnes of plastic garbage get into our waterways every year, damaging the aquatic life and causing pollution as microplastics separate from the waste and contaminate the water. Tests have shown that over 700 species, including fish, animals, and birds, are harmed by plastic pollution, which also causes reproductive system abnormalities and liver and cell damage.
Plastic pollution has detrimental impacts on not only the environment but also on people’s health. First, the manufacture of plastic results in air pollution from greenhouse gas emissions. Second, when plastic waste gets dumped out, the chemicals in it pollute our soil and water, destroying vital resources, making farming and drinking water noxious. Consuming plastic is also associated with a number of serious health consequences, including cancer, birth deformities, lowered immunity, endocrine disruption, developmental problems, and reproductive issues.
Barbie movie enthusiasts may be viewing a “life in plastic” through rose-colored glasses, but the truth is much less “gorgelicious.” In particular, when taking into account the disparities that exist within the communities impacted by plastic pollution. At every stage of the plastic lifecycle, marginalised and low-income groups are disproportionately impacted by plastic pollution.
In addition, a lot of the developing world’s population lacks proper trash disposal facilities, which makes the plastic pollution there much worse because developed countries dump their waste there. Between 400,000 and 1 million people every year in the global south die as a result of the unimaginable amount of rubbish they are forced to deal with. Even if the Barbie movie promotes inclusivity and equality, it is impossible to separate the celebration of plastic from its clear connection to environmental and health harm. Governments, businesses, and individuals must all work together to move the world away from our plastic “paradise.” It is your personal obligation to adjust your consumption habits in order to reduce the amount of plastic you use. Read about The Great Global Cleanup and how to End Plastic Pollution to stay current. Individual efforts are insufficient; sign the Global Plastics Treaty petition and push for stricter regulations. We can make green the new pink if we work together.