Tons of plastic debris is discarded every year, polluting lands, rivers, coasts, beaches, and oceans. The main problem for the excess in plastic pollution is single-use plastic. Single-use plastics are intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These include, among other items, grocery bags, food packaging, straws, containers, cups and bottles. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.
There have been a number of bans recently on these plastics and in particular plastic bottles. Everyone believes that minimizing plastic pollution from entering undesirable places (the ocean) is a good thing, but the reality is that short-sighted bans that single out one plastic product while permitting others isn’t the way to protect our environment. The prohibition of plastic bottles restricts the public’s access to safe drinking water at a time when most U.S. cities are facing water crisis. Before adding to the plastic bottle ban trend, consider the effects that emerge after limiting safe drinking water. If plastic bottles are banned, public health and, ultimately, the environment will be at stake.
The best possible solution is building a sustainable and safe water infrastructure and providing an increase in initiative towards recycling and waste clean up. Obviously, limiting an individual’s dependency on bottled water as opposed to tap water would decrease plastic pollution as well. However, the solution is not to ban specific plastics hoping they will turn up a plastic pollution. The solution is to make sure that this waste is going where is should go.