Effect of Plastic on Forests & Wildlife
Plastic use has clearly taken over human lives. There is dependence on plastics in nearly every sphere of life, starting from feeding bottles, to toys, furniture, plates, parts of automobiles, and even the clothes we wear!
And for something that is so useful, it’s distressing to note that plastics take approximately a 1000 years to decompose! This essentially means that we are polluting our planet irrevocably with growing dependence on plastics, especially single-use plastics. By depending on the convenience of using single-use plastic cutlery, cups, bottles, plates and plastic packaging of fast-foods, is it morally right to pollute the forests, rivers and oceans and all the life forms that live in them, for many generations to come?
There are already studies aplenty showing that plastics in the ocean are killing off at least a 100 million marine animals every year. Here’s a look at what plastic is doing to our forests and wildlife too:
A Macro Problem
As plastic degrades into smaller pieces of less than 5mm in size, it’s called microplastics and this is what collects in the soil and freshwater. It enters into our ecosystem, leading to long-term negative effects. Microplastics in the soil provide a surface for microbes to be carried around on, leading to spread of diseases as well as affecting earthworm’s health and the soil condition. This in turn affects the soil flora and fauna that are dependent on earthworms and enters into the food chain of forest dwellers as well.
Effects on Wildlife
Microplastics leach chemicals like phthalates and BPA to disrupt the hormonal systems of invertebrates and vertebrates alike. Other chemicals leached out from microplastices include parabens, fire retardants, artificial dyes, etc., that bind to soil particles and persist for long periods in the soil.
Hungry animals can smell food in discarded food containers and get their heads, feet or wings stuck in them. This would lead to the animals eventually getting trapped, suffocating and dying. This is aside from ingested plastics causing intestinal blockages and death.
Humans need to urgently reduce their plastic footprint on the planet to stop harming the forest flora, fauna and wildlife. Take this small step today to enable big changes for tomorrow.
It all starts with you!