Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 22, 2021 (SKNIS): Plastics are harmful to the environment as they are non-biodegradable and take years to break down, thus contaminating soil and water in the process, said Biosafety Officer in the Ministry of Environment, Vicia Woods.
“They are a danger to human health and the environment because when these plastics… are improperly disposed of and because they don’t break down immediately, they break apart into smaller pieces known as micro-plastics. When these micro-plastics make their way into the ocean, into the lakes, they become a part of our food chain,” said Ms. Woods during her April 21 appearance on ‘Working for You’. “Because the marine life consumes these tiny pieces of plastics, when we eat these marine species we, in turn, consume not only the species but also the toxins that they hold.”
Ms. Woods said that hazardous chemicals can be found in single-use plastic food wrappings and containers which have direct contact with the food humans consume and that these chemicals may be introduced into the body.
“Plastics also have been found in the blood tissues of human beings because the toxins leach out into the system of humans and they become a part of us. These plastics in our systems have been linked to various ailments,” she said, while referencing styrene, an organic compound used to make Styrofoam. “It has been labelled as a possible carcinogen… and what that simply means is that it is a cancer-causing material, and because we use Styrofoam so often in our daily lives, each time we buy food, we take them in the Styrofoam containers. As these containers heat up, they release toxins so we consume them as well,” Ms. Woods added.
She noted that because of the harmful effects plastics have on the environment and human health, the ban on single-use plastics becomes even more necessary. Ms. Woods added that banning single-use plastics will reduce marine and land-based plastic pollution, as well as reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill and associated greenhouse gas emissions.