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  • Writer's pictureSophia Wang

A Sea of Plastic

When walking around a city, one can’t help but notice the amount of disposable plastic water bottles laying around on the ground or sticking out of a trash can. While these bottles are cheap and convenient, they cause significant harm to the environment, which can consequently have detrimental effects on people and other living organisms.

Only one of every six bottles bought is recycled, which proves to be very harmful, as 29 billion water bottles are purchased per year in America alone, totaling to 60 million per day. These bottles take at least 1,000 years to decompose and release pollutants along the way. Subsequently, American landfills contain 2 million tons of plastic water bottles, all of which contain micro plastics that can get into water and soil. In addition, the various chemicals that decompose the bottles leach into our water supply, causing health issues such as cancer and reproductive problems.

Another way in which plastic bottles are harmful to the environment is through their production. In order to make a bottle, it takes three times the amount of water needed to actually fill the bottle, and over 17 millions barrels of oil are used per year to produce these bottles. The manufacturing uses up valuable non-renewable resources, which could altogether be avoided by reusing other bottles made of more sustainable materials such as stainless steel. After producing the actual bottles, the bottling process releases 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year, contributing significantly to global warming.

By following the actions in the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and applying them to water bottles, plastic waste can be greatly reduced and the environment can be preserved for future generations.


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