Essay Question: 8/6
Many people say that we have developed into a “throw-away society”, because we are filling up our environment with so many plastic bags and rubbish that we cannot fully dispose of. To want extent do you agree with this opinion and what measures can you recommend to reduce this problem?
In present-day society, plastic containers and utensils are extensively used in big cities and the countryside alike. They are so ubiquitous I would hazard the guess that each one of us has seen, at one time or another, the unsightly scene of plastic bags swirling in the wind. These plastic shopping bags, chopsticks, to-go boxes and mineral-water bottles, to name but a few, when not properly disposed of, create a colossal amount of non-biodegradable refuse. Therefore, some people argue that we have embarked upon a “throw-away” era when plastic trash is largely dumped indiscriminately and irresponsibly (this practice is often labeled “white pollution” on account of the color of plastic wastes). Personally , I wholeheartedly support their view.
There are numerous reasons for this worrisome phenomenon coming into being. To begin with , at present the bulk of people who shop and/or eat out regularly are still poorly-informed, uninformed or misinformed about the pernicious influence that non-biodegradable pollutants exert on the ecosystem, which is the main culprit in the global-scale mishandling of the plastic wastes. The chief component of such trash is polythene, which cannot decompose on landfill sites over the process of the next hundreds of years if no major scientific breakthrough comes along in polythene treatment. Thus, such trash must be dealt with collectively rather than be scattered like tumbleweeds. Secondly, the proliferation of plastic shopping bags and eating ware is largely fuelled by the surging, headlong consumerism. Plastic containers and utensils are lighter in weight, cheaper(often free of charge) in price and water-resistant in performance. These superior properties make them preferable to their paper and cloth counterparts in customers’ eyes; and as consumer satisfaction reigns supreme in contemporary society, compared with superb portability, affordability and utility, how to dispose of them is the last thing the customers are concerned about. Additionally, plastic bags, wrap and containers are also commercially feasible since they are cheaper to manufacture, ship and store. These mercenary considerations also have prompted the good old cloth or paper bags to be supplanted by plastic bags but over the phasing-out process, few stores and restaurants advocate or encourage the use of environmentally—benign disposal of plastic trash, hence the whole slew of non-biodegradable garbage. And environmental hazards ensue.
Given the scale and severity of “white pollution”, we must take immediate steps to address this scourge. In the first place, we must do our utmost to enhance people’s awareness of how persistent and devastating non-biodegradable trash can be to our environment and our posterity’s. Secondly, retail stores and dining establishments should spare no effort in encouraging their customers to reuse plastic packing items. Furthermore, indiscriminate and irresponsible dumping of household garbage or personal junk should be outlawed by the legislature and heavy fines or even jail terms must be imposed on those compulsive litterbugs who fail to get their act together. Then , on the part of the biochemical researchers and technologists , scientific research must be launched here and now in pursuit of effectual ways to convert non-biodegradable refuse to biodegradable refuse. Last but not least, the government must not shirk its obligations in mobilizing scientific resources and rallying popular support in the crusade against “white pollution”. Neither should it pay just lip service to relevant research and campaigns if no enough funding can be obtained otherwise. Additionally, I am convinced a customer tax levied by the government on the use of plastic bags will also help to curb this massive “white pollution”.
The havoc non-biodegradable refuse can wreak on the ecosystem is beyond our imagination. It can eventually devastate soil, water and the aquatic and terrestrial biota. We must start combating this environmental catastrophe before the ecosystem irretrievably breaks down under the reign of the minute plastic debris.