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Non-biodegradable Waste: Earth’s Basis of Destruction

Updated: Sep 17, 2023



The footwear that is fawned over, the batteries powering our homes, and consumer goods all share one commonality: non-biodegradable substances. These substances are wastes that cannot be properly decomposed by natural agents. Non-biodegradable substances, often introduced by synthetic products such as plastic bags, glass and batteries, wreak havoc on the environment through pollution, and are causing detrimental biological effects on marine life and other animals.


Where is Non-biodegradable Waste Found?

The pollution of non-biodegradable plastics has existed long-term due to human actions such as domestic, agricultural, and construction activities. A majority of this pollution is micro-plastics, which are small pieces of plastics that have been broken down from larger pieces of plastic. High contents of this material are now being found within animal and plant tissues, terrestrial ecosystems, and even human waste. This is due to food and water that organisms obtain from water or soil, unintentionally including those micro-plastics within it. It then begins to circulate among the food chain, finding itself in unfavorable locations. There are copious amounts of micro-plastics that are found within the regions of the world.


Non-biodegradable substances have become widespread as industries continue to produce harmful and wasteful products. Most commonly, these harmful materials are components of items used in many industries, such as agriculture, packaging, and slaughterhouses. As production continues, there will be an abundance of these unnatural temperature resistant and durable materials, which pollute both soil and water and find its way into the foods of numerous animals, ending up in their systems and killing them.


Other common examples of non-biodegradable items include glass, plastic, metals, pesticides, fibers, and artificial rubber and polymers. Common products are tires, paint, and polystyrene which is a synthetic resin mainly used in the food-service industry. Since these products are manufactured and not made naturally, they cannot properly decompose in the soil. They pose a great threat such as land, air, and soil pollution, and harming humans and animals.


The Harm Granted by Them

Non-biodegradable plastics are carriers of toxic substances; the degradation of this matter is affected by physical, chemical, and biological means. After research conducted by environmental scientists for an entire decade, it has been determined that microplastic fragments alter physical sediment properties such as temperature and permeability, leading to an increased risk of beach biota, the plant and animal life in a specific region or habitat. These same fragments find themselves built up within embryonic and mobile dunes, stuck within plant organs and seeds which interact with mechanisms of vegetation, altering sand structure and nutrient mobilization. Meaning, non-biodegradable waste decreases soil fertility and turns soil pH unsuitable, making it difficult for plants to cycle energy and nutrients in an ecosystem.


Additionally, long term exposure of non-biodegradable materials and other synthetic products to the atmosphere cause a release of greatly toxic pollutants, which drains into water supplies. After spending a prolonged amount of time in the air, they begin to oxidize and pour out venomous and cancer-causing copper salt and other toxins that pollute the land and food chain, also triggering serious damage within the metabolism of living organisms after having been consumed.


The Ultimate Settling

Humans perceive non-biodegradable items of Earth as everyday goods, a helping hand in terms of packaging, consumer goods, etc. Nevertheless, they are the top sources of groundwater contamination, and soil and air pollution that results in diseases in humans. Smart solutions regarding the true nature of these products and their harm must be explicitly tracked down and pinpointed, sole banishment of them is not an effective solution. These wastes require in-depth research considering their components to reach a successful solution in terms of preventing Substitution is a warm and beneficial path for this planet and its people, and starting by replacing non-biodegradable plastics/products with eco-friendly items is the next step to a better future.


Works Cited

“Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable: Definitions and Differences.” GeeksforGeeks, 18 Apr. 2023, www.geeksforgeeks.org/biodegradable-and-non-biodegradable/#.

Menicagli, Virginia, et al. “Adverse Effects of Non-Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Bags on the Establishment of Coastal Dune Vegetation: First Experimental Evidences.” Environmental Pollution, vol. 252, 2019, pp. 188–195, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.05.108.

Simpson, Simon. “The Effects of Non Biodegradable Plastics on the Environment.” Internationalscholarsjournals.Com, 21 Aug. 2021, https://www.internationalscholarsjournals.com/abstract/effects-of-nonbiodegradable-plastics-on-environment-76935.html. Accessed 30 May 2023.

Zhang, Shaoliang, et al. “Non-Biodegradable Microplastics in Soils: A Brief Review and Challenge.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, vol. 409, 2021, p. 124525, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124525.






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