As every year passes, climate change and its consequences become increasingly evident. Unfortunately, as we watch huge plumes of toxic gases being pumped into the air and see vast garbage patches in the ocean, followed by pictures of dead sea creatures, droughts and flooding, many of us feel completely helpless against the enormity of what is happening around us.
Don’t feel helpless in the face of environmental issues. You have the power to effect change. If each of us makes small changes in our lives, the impact will be huge. Why? Because our combined efforts have direct impact, and as consumers, our dollars are our power. You can therefore influence corporate decisions. One of the most important changes we can make this coming year is to reduce, or even eliminate, our use of single-use plastic.
From their beginning to their end, plastics pollute. Plastic is made from a combination of fossil fuels and chemicals which pollute the environment at every stage of its life cycle. If thrown away correctly, it ends up in the incinerator, releasing harmful pollutants into the air. When not thrown away correctly, plastic ends up in our oceans, on our beaches and scattered throughout our island, destroying wildlife.
Plastic pollutes people too. The chemicals added to plastic or used in their manufacture, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), have been linked to fertility issues including diminishing sperm count, poor sperm quality, miscarriage and erectile dysfunction.
Exposure to these chemicals has also been linked to diabetes, neurological problems, behavioural issues, cancers, birth defects, gastric ulcers, respiratory issues, thyroid problems and cardiovascular disease.
Each time we drink from a plastic lined ‘paper’ coffee cup we are exposed to these chemicals. Each time we drink water from a plastic water bottle, we are exposed to these chemicals. Each time we eat take-out food from a plastic container, we are exposed to these chemicals. As a result, micro-plastics have even been detected in human breast milk.
This year, please make a new year’s resolution that will make a difference to you, the world around you and the generations coming after you. Make 2023 the year you reduce your use of single-use plastic. This is not an easy transition, but Beyond Plastic Bermuda is here to help. Here are some resolution ideas to get you started: