“Single-use plastics pose huge risks to public health and the environment”

ISTANBUL

Single-use plastics pose huge risks to public health and the environment, a Turkish expert has warned, calling for a switch to everyday-use alternatives.

Single-use plastic products, which are used once or for a short time before being thrown away, continue to cause health and waste problems around the world, said Turgut Tuzun Onay, director of the Institute of environmental sciences from Bogazici University.

The world will face serious health and waste problems if current trends continue and one billion tons of plastic are produced each year by 2050.

According to studies, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production and combustion of plastic is more or less equivalent to the emissions of approximately 189 coal-fired power plants.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Onay said single-use plastics account for two-thirds of the waste found in oceans and seas.

Plastics turn into microplastics after a while due to environmental effects such as wind or rain, he said, explaining that when these microplastics interact with sea creatures, toxic chemicals seep into them. the food chain.

Single-use plastic products

Although there are reusable and durable alternatives, single-use plastic products are widely used around the world.

However, amid growing awareness of the threats plastics pose and many sobering reports of their long-term negative impacts on human health, some countries have accelerated their efforts to phase out plastics for use. unique.

According to the EU, plastic cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers, balloons and balloon sticks, food containers, beverage cups, beverage containers, cigarette butts , plastic bags, packets and wraps, wet wipes and sanitary ware are some of the single-use plastic products that should be restricted across the block.

Although additional tax obligations are imposed on companies that use, consume and distribute these materials in the EU, Onay noted that the prolonged use of plastic or its exposure to heat creates harmful toxins that poison human beings.

Plastics contain chemical additives such as endocrine disruptors that can cause cancer, birth defects, diabetes and immune system suppression in humans and animals.​​​​​​​

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