By Mansi Patel
Downfall of the Future: Plastic Water Bottles (if you have a better title please us that)
On a regular summer day, people go out to swim expecting a bright sunny day and nice clean beaches. However, due to our recent misuse of plastic, especially plastic water bottles, beaches are ruined and the waterways polluted. Plastic water bottles can be found everywhere, from schools to the beautiful California coast. They are not just harmful to the environment, but are very expensive and add to the buildup of trash.
Plastic water bottles have affected the environment and community. It keeps adding up, but the problem still stays invisible to those who don’t want to know the truth of these harmful products. These plastic water bottles harm our environment and the animals that live around us, which we then eat and make us sick. Visualize bottles lined up end to end in a straight line. It would wrap around the earth 190 times. Plastic water bottles placed in the landfill today will take up to 1000 years to biodegrade, according to iSustainableEarth.
“Imagine if every (plastic water bottle) you ever opened you had to keep in your bedroom forever. At some point there has to be this tipping point where we say this is unmanageable. The waste is unmanageable,” says English teacher Nancy Kennett.
With this harmful effect on the environment, it is almost impossible to get rid of the plastic. Everywhere, one can find remnants of plastic water bottles. Even in the most isolated places, plastic water bottles can make their way there because plastic is almost indestructible, which is why plastic is so popular. The patch, a gyre of trash between California and Hawaii, comprises an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of scattered detritus, including at least 87,000 tons of plastic, according to The New York Times.
Americans use on average 50 billion water bottles each year and climbing, though only recycle 23 percent of the plastic bottles when finished. This means that nearly 38 billion of those water bottles were trashed, leading to increased pollution and landfill waste Economic impact by producing more than $1 billion in wasted plastic each year, equivalent to 912 million gallons of oil, according to iSustainableEarth.
“Plastic water bottles negatively affect our world as it does not decompose quickly so trash can build up quickly as the majority of people do not recycle. Plastic also consists of toxic material causing it to harm living things. And because we are a part of our own environment, using these plastic water bottles directly affects us and our community as a whole,” says sophomore Esha Jain.
Not only are plastic water bottles harmful to our environment, but they are very pricey. At first, one may think that it is very cheap to buy a bulk plastic water bottle case from Costco, but that price really adds up. For example, you could spend 2,900 times as much, roughly $1,400 yearly, by drinking bottled water. If you use a New York City tap, those eight glasses of water you are supposed to drink would only cost you about $0.00135, or 49 cents a year, according to The New York Times.
“I try not to use water bottles because I’m trying to live. If humans continue to make and use plastic at this rate, we will inevitably face the consequences since plastic takes hundreds of years to break down. I reduce my plastic water bottle use by bringing a refillable water bottle to school and other events. There’s always a bunch of water fountains we have access to. Also, it’s just a lot cheaper to not buy cases of plastic water bottles all the time,” says senior Stacey Thai.
Instead of using plastic water bottles and adding to all the problems the plastic has brought, we should use reusable water bottles which is healthier and better for our community so we don’t have to suffer in the long term.