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Letter: Planet's health is collective responsibility

May 05, 2023May 05, 2023

I am writing to shed light on the critical connection between human health and the health of our planet, particularly in relation to plastic waste and pollution. It is not only the environment that suffers from our excessive plastic consumption but also our own well-being and the future of our children. Each one of us is creating almost five pounds of waste per day or about one ton of waste annually. The Great Garbage Patch has grown to twice the size of Texas. Urgent action is needed to address this issue and transition toward more sustainable alternatives.

Plastic waste has become a global crisis, with devastating consequences for both our environment and human health. While the impact on marine life and ecosystems is widely acknowledged, it is equally important to recognize how plastic pollution directly affects our own health and the well-being of future generations.

Numerous studies have highlighted the dangers associated with plastic waste and its impact on human health. Plastic products, especially those that contain harmful additives, can leach chemicals into our food, water and air. These chemicals, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), have been linked to a range of health issues, including hormone disruption, reproductive disorders, developmental abnormalities, and even certain types of cancer.

Furthermore, plastic waste poses a significant threat to our children's health. Plastic toys, bottles and pacifiers, for instance, can contain harmful substances that young children are particularly susceptible to due to their developing bodies and immature immune systems. Ingestion or exposure to these toxic chemicals at a young age can have long-lasting impacts on their health and well-being.This can be observed in declining health statistics of our population. More and more children are diagnosed with food allergies and sensitivities due to their challenged immune and digestive systems.

However, we have the power to make a difference. By making simple changes in our everyday essentials, we can significantly reduce plastic waste and promote a healthier future. Switching from traditional shampoo bottles to shampoo bars, using bamboo toothbrushes, opting for all-natural cleaning products, and carrying reusable bags and water bottles are just a few examples of how we can actively contribute to the reduction of plastic waste.

These eco-friendly alternatives not only minimize our carbon footprint but also provide tangible health benefits. Natural and organic products are free from harmful chemicals, protecting us from potential health risks associated with plastic waste and pollution. They are also better for our waste management system. By adopting these sustainable choices, we can create safer environments for ourselves and future generations.

Furthermore, it is crucial to raise awareness and educate communities about the importance of reducing plastic waste. Schools, community organizations, and local governments can play a vital role in promoting sustainable practices and providing resources for individuals to make informed choices. Our local businesses have enormous power and responsibility and they can create a huge difference by eliminating Styrofoam, plastic containers and plastic grocery bags.

In conclusion, our health is deeply intertwined with the health of our planet. Plastic waste and pollution not only harm the environment but also pose significant risks to human health, especially for our children. By making conscious decisions to reduce plastic waste and embrace sustainable alternatives, we can protect our own well-being while preserving the planet for future generations.

I would like to invite and encourage our local businesses to eliminate plastic cutlery, grocery bags, Styrofoam and plastic straws. reTHink has been working hard to create awareness and it is time to take action. I would also like to invite our community to explore reTHink's zero-waste store. Let us strive together to create a world where plastic waste is minimized, and the well-being of both ourselves and the Earth is prioritized. It is a collective responsibility that we owe to ourselves, our children and the future of our planet.

— Dr. Shikha Bhattacharyya

Terre Haute

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