A world full of plastic

Symbol of progress, or perhaps of a misplaced trust in common human sense, plastic entered our lives from the industrial age. Today it is found everywhere, in every corner of the planet, even in the fish we eat. Plastic, this prodigious invention of chemistry, there are many types: high density, like the bottles of detergents, for example, which are resistant to shocks; and low density, such as bags, packaging, films, etc. There is polystyrene used for furnishing accessories, Pvs for resistant objects such as windows, PP for household appliances, Pet for plastic bottles, wear-resistant nylon; and finally, elastomers, tires and thermosetting polymers (for sockets, plugs, switches). The plastics we use are then added with chemical compounds that are not exactly beneficial for health, especially for the endocrine system. Just to give an example, before the European Union, in 2010, ban bisphenol A – which was shown to pass from container to content – our children have taken it through bottles. In many parts of the world it is still widely used. Recently, biodegradable and compostable plastics have been introduced. The former should be decomposed to 90% in six months, the latter to 100% in three months. In reality, the process of composting the biodegradable ones should take place in a controlled setting and this almost never happens so that the environmental protection criteria for which they were created do not meet. For what concerns the global production of plastics, Europe ranks second with 19% after China with 29% (Asia reaches 50% of global production). Our country is the largest European producer, after Germany. Seas and oceans. It is in the oceans that life proliferated when nothing on earth existed. Today they are populated, as well as by flora, marine fauna and plastic. The first often feeds on the second, exchanging it for food, and thus entering the food chain. Not to mention, then, that 90% of seabirds have plastic waste in the stomach. The largest waste accumulation area in the world is located in the North Pacific, where currents create an area of ​​convergence. It is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a sort of floating island that feeds on our every stupid daily gesture. In the Mediterranean there is no “island”, but on the other hand, being a substantially closed sea, it is suffocated by plastic. In our country 200,000 plastic microframes per square kilometer were found in the Genoa basin; high peaks were also detected in the waters of Naples and in marine protected areas such as the Tremiti Islands. Situation not unlike the channel of Sicily, Sardinia, Aegean Sea, Corsica, France, North Africa, Turkey, Greece. Some Belgian biologists have found microplastics in the mussels, and if we consider that in the Netherlands they are the national dish, it is rather worrying.Lakes and rivers. The situation is no better for lakes, “sick” of waste and sewage treatment plants that do not work properly, and for rivers, whose situation is exacerbated by the abusive spills of polluting substances.Earth. A German study would seem to show that microplastic ground pollution is four to twenty-three times greater than marine pollution. Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year, about a third remain in soils and fresh waters.Think about it before throwing a plastic object into the environment!