Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 21, 2013

Plastic water bottles threaten environment in several ways

Every hour, 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away by Americans. Many of these bottles are then buried in landfills, where they will not naturally biodegrade.

Think about this: Every single plastic bottle that has ever been buried in a landfill still exists. This is a problem.

Our society is based on a use-and-toss mentality that makes it OK for people to use a plastic bottle once and discard it. Not only does this leave millions of non-biodegradable containers in our landfills, but it also is polluting the environment with the toxic chemicals that are used to create each bottle.

The common plastic water bottle will never biodegrade because it is petroleum based; the only way that the bottle will break down is by direct sunlight, which slowly causes the bottle to break into smaller pieces. As the bottle breaks apart, it releases toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer. Both of these chemicals can be harmful to animals and people, causing reproductive issues and cancer, so this also becomes a health concern.

However, there is hope. If you were to use a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing pre-bottled water, not only would you be saving money in the long run, but you would also be helping to stop pollution and the overfilling of our landfills.

Bottles like this are amazing, because it tastes as though you are drinking bottled water, but, in reality, it is tap water.

The use-and-toss mentality that our nation has adopted will need to come to a halt at some point, as we are slowly running out of non-renewable resources. This change will eventually happen, and bottled water as we know it may not even exist in the future.

It’s time that we all realize the impact that we have on our planet and start making some changes.

The next time you are at the store, I urge you to purchase a reusable water bottle and start using it. You will save money, the environment, and be starting the trend of a new generation while doing it.

Evan Deckers

Frostburg

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