One of the central issues that affect the wellness of the Earth’s population is plastic pollution. Today, almost every person knows that plastic kills millions of animals every year by entanglement or starvation (Parker, 2019). However, a rare person realizes that plastic is a source of significant problems with wellness. According to the Center of International Environmental Law (CIEL, 2015), microplastics entering the human body can cause severe health problems, including inflammation, genotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and necrosis. Additionally, the production of plastic is associated with the release of harmful toxins to the atmosphere and water, which also negatively affects human health. Thus, the problem needs to be addressed systematically to avoid deaths of animals and the deterioration of human wellness.
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Plastic pollution is a global issue that affects every person on our planet directly or indirectly. The problem of plastic pollution became evident in the late 1960s when people noticed that albatrosses began ingesting plastic items and northern fur seals becoming entangled in netting (Science History Institute, n.d.). However, the problem did encourage society to reduce the production of plastics due to its economic benefits (Gomez & Rima, 2019). Instead, marketers began to inform the public about the rational use of plastic and recycling methods (Ryan, 2015). This proved ineffective, as the production of plastic kept growing, while there were no economic incentives to recycle, as virgin material was of higher quality and cheaper (Gomez & Rima, 2019). By 2025, scientists expect to have 1 ton of plastic per three tons of fish in the oceans (Ryan, 2015). Thus, the problem of plastic pollution is evident.
Effect on Society
Originally, plastic was supposed to be bliss, as it revolutionized medicine with life-saving devices, allowed space travel, and lightened cars and jets, which decreased pollution by improving fuel efficiency (Parker, 2019). Plastics also saved millions of lives by helmets, incubators, and equipment for clean drinking water (Parker, 2019). However, soon it became evident that plastic pollution negatively affects human health, as it leads to numerous chronic conditions. Plastic contaminates seafood, soil, and oceans. Moreover, plastic pollution forces humanity to spend significant resources on trying to resolve the problem and find substitutes for the material.
Society’s Effect on the Problem
Society has both a positive and negative effect on the problem. On the one hand, the emergence of NGOs raises awareness about the problem of plastic pollution. This leads to shifting the minds of peoples towards sustainable development. Additionally, progressive government started to ban single-use plastic to decrease the impact of plastic on the environment. Even though this response is insufficient, it still contributes to mitigating the negative effects of plastic pollution. On the other hand, society’s effect on the problem is negative. The central problem is the linear economy, which is designed to generate enormous amounts of waste. Additionally, the culture of consumerism is harmful to the environment. There are two primary concerns about the consumeristic culture: depletion of natural resources and plastic pollution. Throwaway culture is the product of the linear economy, which does no reuse the resources and depends upon excavating natural resources. The key solution is to turn to a circular economy, which will be based on the culture based on the philosophy of five Rs, which are refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot.
Effect on Individual Perception
Researching the topic of plastic pollution had a significant effect on my individual perception. Before starting working on the project, I was indifferent to plastic pollution. I realized that the problem was there; however, I did not think it was very important. However, after finishing the project, I became a strong supporter of plastic waste reduction. I started collecting waste separately, supporting local food producers, and buying used things to reduce the impact on the environment. In general, I accepted the Zero Waste philosophy, which is based on the 5R principles: refuse buying unneeded products, reduce utilization of resources, reuse products by giving them a second life, recycle the unneeded materials, and rot.
Working on the project also affected me as a professional. As it has been mentioned earlier, plastic has a negative effect on human health. In particular, it causes chronic conditions, including cancer. As a healthcare professional, I understand that the issue of the effect of plastic on human health is understudied. Thus, additional research is needed to understand what other effects plastic has on human health. Moreover, I need to know how to help my patients avoid the negative effects of plastic pollution. This implies that research should focus on elaborating effective prevention strategies to avoid health-related problems.
Analysis of Wellness and Interaction
Critical analysis of wellness adds value to interaction with people and understand social or global issues. Analysis of wellness issues incorporates looking at a problem through different lenses, such as history, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. Such analyses help to have an informed opinion about an issue, which is crucial during professional interactions. For instance, knowing about the problem of plastic pollution and the effects of plastic on human health helped me to become a strong supporter of the zero waste concept, which I can promote during professional communication. Additionally, analyses of issues help to enhance the effectiveness of professional communication. For instance, if a professional conversation touches upon the strategies to reduce the effect of plastic on human health, the person I am talking to will not need to explain to me what the negative effects of plastic are.
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Strategies for Wellness Analysis
It is crucial to utilize efficient analysis strategies to meet one’s professional goal. The central idea behind the analysis of issues is that it should never stop. If a person starts believing that she or he has achieved an understanding of the problem, the improvement stops. Thus, all professionals should constantly be analyzing issues that are important to them. In my practice, I found it effective to review scholarly literature systematically. In particular, I often read systematic reviews of advances in preventive medicine. I also follow Greenpeace on Twitter and Facebook to ensure that I have the latest updates about sustainability issues. Finally, I often ask questions to authorities in my spheres of interest to receive specific answers.
In conclusion, analysis of wellness issues is associated with several benefits and challenges. In particular, analysis of wellness issues helps to acquire a deeper understanding of problems. At the same time, an in-depth assessment of wellness issues helps to develop strategies for addressing them. As for the challenges, the process of analysis may be time-consuming. Today, professionals are pressured with multiple obligations and often fail to find time for activities, which are not immediately beneficial. Additionally, analysis of wellness issues will never be completed, which may lead to frustration. As it was mentioned earlier, assessment of wellness issues is a never-ending process associated with the acquisition of a nuanced understanding of problems.
In addition to the mentioned benefits, analysis of wellness issues adds value to professional communication as it emphasizes professionalism and increases trust among the participants of the conversation. Thus, it is crucial to assess wellness problems through different lenses.
Center of International Environmental Law. (2015). Plastic and human health: A lifecycle approach to plastic pollution. CIEL. Web.
Clark, C., & Alford, H. (2019). The throwaway culture in the economy of exclusion: Pope Francis and economists on waste. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 78(4), 973-1008. Web.
Gomez, F., & Rima, S. (2019). Setting the facts straight on plastics. World Economic Forum. Web.
Parker, L. (2019). The world’s plastic pollution crisis explained. National Geographic. Web.
Ryan, P. G. (2015). Marine anthropogenic litter. Springer, Cham.
Sharma, M. D., Elangickal, A. I., Mankar, J. S., & Krupadam, R. J. (2020). Assessment of cancer risk of microplastics enriched with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 122994.