Three Devastating Environmental Effects of Plastic Pollution


Many factors contribute to climate change and global pollution, but there’s one material that is causing the most significant problem: plastic. Plastic is having a devastating effect on our environment. The bottom line is, we need to be better at recycling plastic. If we don’t improve our efforts, we are all going to suffer the consequences. Plastic is a major killer of our marine life, but three other areas are greatly affected by plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution
Plastic pollution can affect our clean drinking water supplies.

Environmental effects of plastic pollution

When we throw away plastic, instead of recycling or reusing, we are not just polluting the earth. Eventually, the plastic we throw away can cause groundwater pollution, floods, and disease.

Groundwater pollution

When plastic ends up in a landfill, it starts to interact with all the other elements in the landfill. Toxic chemicals created by plastic and other items will eventually seep deeper and deeper into the ground, finally mixing with our groundwater. Groundwater makes up a large portion of the water we all drink, so think about that the next time you throw some plastic in the trash instead of the recycling.

Increase in floods

Plastic pollution may also contribute to a rise in floods. Plastic waste doesn’t always get transported to a landfill. Much of the plastic pollution is tossed on the ground and will end up in drains, reservoirs, and gutters. When the drainage system for cities gets clogged by plastic pollution, there is a higher risk of floods. The more plastic pollution we find in our drainage systems, the less room there is for water to flow, and the quicker a rainstorm can turn to a major flood.

Effects of plastic pollution
Plastic pollution can affect our water and our health.

Increase in disease

Flooding often leads to swamps, puddles, and standing water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are not just annoying; they can carry diseases. Plastic pollution will disrupt the natural flow of water and cause a rise in disease.

Plastic pollution solution

Be conscious of the amount of plastic you purchase. Stay clear of single-serving plastic products and opt for alternative and sustainable materials when you shop. Look at the packaging of the products you buy and see if you can’t eliminate plastic as much as possible. And, remember to recycle!

Sunrise Sanitation provides trash and recycling services for Maryland and West Virginia.

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