Three effects of plastic that you might not have been imagined.
Plastics are a group of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials derived from polymerization, and it is not found naturally, we started using plastics in its current form from 1907, and there is not a single day we spend without the utilization of plastic, and since you know the basics of plastics disadvantages and the downsides of its utilization regarding human health and environment, In this article, we will discuss the three effects of plastics that you might not have been imagined.
First of all, plastics not only produce greenhouse gases during the production and consumption stages, but it permanently emits greenhouse gases after their exposure to ultraviolet light, because plastics are a long chain of molecules and when the sun's rays blow onto them they decompose, especially the ultraviolet light which decomposes these molecules with the process of off-gassing into small molecules, such as ethylene and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases, but methane is far more dangerous because the methane traps 25 times more heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide, while the higher the level of plastic surface contact with the sun rays, the faster the process will be, such as if you put a sugar Loaf in a glass of tea and stir it with a spoon, it will take more time to dissolve and sweeten your tea than sugar powder, because the level of powdered-sugar-surface contact with tea is higher than that of the sugar loaf, it is worth noting that once the process of gas release (off-gassing) began, then it continues even without the sun's rays, because the molecular relationships gets broken, and decomposed molecules are broken down into smaller molecules, ranganing from 10 millimeters to 2 millimeters and even smaller than that, which is not even visible to the naked eye, thus it transforms into greenhouse gases that we mentioned above.
Secondly, plastics can develop antibiotic resistance, which can make antibiotics less effective against bacteria, thus the diseases will no longer be cured with the use of common antibiotics, which means that the bacteria used to be killed with common antibiotics, will no longer be easy to eradicate with common antibiotics, and we will have to use strong medications to get rid of them.
A recent study by researchers conducted in Northern Ireland showed that the bacteria that were along with plastics at the coast of Ireland had antibiotic resistance. The researchers tried to use 10 commonly used antibiotics to kill the mentioned bacteria but found it very difficult, meaning that 98% of bacteria showed resistance with the ampicillin antibiotic, while 16% of bacteria showed resistance to Minocycline, another type of antibiotic, indicating that plastic is a good environment for bacteria to grow, and the problem begins when these bacteria create food-like smell around the plastics, which makes it more likely to be eaten by living creatures, and animals, and in this way it can enter into the food chain of animals as well as humans which can cause various diseases that can no longer be treated with ordinary antibiotics.
Thirdly, plastics' ability to decompose into smaller molecules creates another dangerous scenario for living beings, any plastic piece which is smaller than a few micro-meters is called nano plastic particles, and according to researches, these particles can cross even biological barriers, and this means that they can pass through the cell walls and get absorbed into the intestines and accumulate in the organs of the body like liver, and kidneys and researches have shown that plastic nanoparticles have even found to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells that filter harmful substances out of the blood so they can’t get into the brain. moreover the accumulation of plastic in the cells causes various diseases, including cancer.
Overall, plastic is a handy and inexpensive material and it can be useful, but its negative effects on humans and the environment are so great that it might not worth being used and in the long-term, it is harmful.
So the less plastic we use and the better we understand the consequences of its utilization the better we can protect our selves and our environment.