Technology offers a solution to reduce plastic pollution

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With the increasing pace of industrialization and consumption, plastic has become an important part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, this increase in plastic consumption has become a major cause of the alarming increase in pollution around us. Everything around us uses some form of plastic, from product packaging to drinking water bottles. Plastics contain non-degradable and toxic components, which have the capacity to harm the environment irreparably. When collected in an area beyond the boundary, it harms surrounding plants, human life, and even wildlife. According to a report by Biodiversityif plastic deposition continues at the current rate, it will overtake all fish in the sea by 2050.


But over time, technology has offered better ways to slow down plastic pollution. Let’s read ahead to understand the main causes of plastic pollution and how technology can control it.

Main causes of plastic pollution

Plastic has become one of the most widely used materials for packaging, transport and storage because it is durable, lightweight, easy to transport and waterproof. But one can now notice various new problems with the increasing use of plastic. According plastic oceans, more than 380 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, and more than 50% is single-use. Moreover, it takes a long time to decompose. As reported by Plastic Oceans, less than 9% of plastic is recycled. Based on these statistics, the main causes of pollution identified are as follows:

Single-use plastic: Most of the plastic we use today is single-use. Products such as plastic bags, trays, bottles, food packaging and the like are usually used once before being disposed of. These plastic options fill landfills and dumps that are hard to break down or recycle.

Overuse of plastic: Rapid industrialization and urbanization has increased the demand for cheap and cheap plastic for consumers as it is very affordable. This has led to the use of plastic for everything from carrier bags to bottles and straws.

From ignorance to recycling: Much of the plastic can be recycled or recycled, reducing the demand for producing unwanted plastic. Even though people have started recycling plastic, the rate is relatively low. As a result, it will take over 400 years for the plastic to decompose.

Commercial manufacturing: Plastic is widely used to make most gear and fishing nets. They usually have a limited life cycle, after which people throw them away. Parts of these, mostly nets, accumulate in the ocean bed for quite a long time. This debris continues to leak toxic contents, causing water pollution and other problems.

How can technology help reduce plastic pollution?

The first step towards preventing plastic pollution starts with changing our mindset. Switching to environmentally friendly products that replace plastic (cotton/jute bags) or recycling and upcycling helps. One can also switch from plastic water bottles to steel or glass bottles to reduce the use of plastic. Although these are only basic solutions, below are some technological solutions.

A long-lasting hydration solution is another important step. Using sustainable solutions to obtain water is one of the main advantages offered by technology to stop or reduce plastic pollution. These solutions can use AI and IoT to better coordinate and analyze sanitation and plastic use.

An interesting breakthrough that could accelerate in the near future is that of biodegradable plastics. Various researchers, using the latest technology, are developing biodegradable plastic. For starters, it will be nice to opt for biodegradable reusable bags. In addition, edible cutlery available on the market is a good replacement for plastic cutlery. These use natural products and cause no harm to humans and the environment.

The bottom line

Plastic poses various threats to the environment. Therefore, it is wise to start upcycling, upcycling or switching to more sustainable solutions in place of plastic, educating people and helping them understand the need for such a change. Encouraging the development and use of alternatives to plastic is also essential. After all, it is everyone’s duty to adopt better practices to slow the rate of plastic pollution.

Bryce K. Locke