Plastic pollution is one of the greatest anthropogenic threats to wildlife; this is because plastic takes far longer to decompose than other materials like aluminum or paper. Most plastics take about 450 years to decompose, while polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) never fully decomposes! Thus, these plastics remain in the ecosystem, where wildlife can consume them, for centuries or indefinitely. According to Environment Oregon, “Scientists have found plastic fragments in literally hundreds of species, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species.” When such species ingest these plastic fragments, the result is usually death, because the plastic blocks their digestive tracts causing them to starve. Additionally, the plastics and the toxic chemicals that they are comprised of eventually make their way up the food chain and into our own bodies. This is why we should all be deeply troubled by plastic pollution and actively working to mitigate it.
About Environment Oregon
Environment Oregon is a subdivision of Environment America; both are nonprofit, citizen-based, environmental advocacy organizations. Environment Oregon works by spreading awareness about environmental issues through research reports, news conferences, interviews, op-ed pieces, letters to the editor, and more. They also present solutions and act as a voice for the environment in a political climate where powerful corporations have an advantage and an interest in exploiting the environment and its citizens. Join thousands of your friends and neighbors in protecting our air, water and open spaces by becoming a member of Environment Oregon by making a contribution today.
Plastic Reduction Tips, Courtesy of Environment Oregon!
“Half of the World’s Plastic Was Produced in the Last 13 Years — and Half of That Was Produced for Single-Use Products.” Environment Oregon, environmentoregon.org/sites/environment/files/cpn/AMN-071018-A1/index4.html.