Over 719 billion people live in extreme poverty, roughly 10% of the world. There are an array of different reasons behind the causes of extreme poverty. Many reasons behind extreme poverty are poor health and living conditions. Limited food and clean water sources are also significant contributors. The factors that lead to impoverished conditions go on and on, but one factor that has a large impact that may not come to mind so quickly is pollution.
Air pollution and water pollution have a strong negative impact on communities that are living in poverty. With fewer resources available to combat the problem, 92% of pollution-related deaths occur in middle and low-income countries. Children are even more likely to be impacted by the adverse effects of pollution, most commonly from chemicals in the air and water.
Many plastic products that people purchase are created by companies to be used once and then thrown away; consider water bottles and shampoo containers. In middle and low-income communities, it is more likely for people not to have access to solid waste management services. That lack of access leaves these communities with no choice but to burn garbage or dump it into waterways.
Burning plastic often releases toxic fumes, which have been linked to rendering neurological development. By dumping plastic into waterways, the water is at a higher risk of flooding, increasing the possibility of diseases spreading. Standing water also attracts mosquitoes, which tend to carry parasites responsible for the fatal disease malaria, which is most commonly found in impoverished countries.
Plastics For Change
The World Bank estimates that 1 in 10 people exposed to unsafe air pollution live in poverty. If someone living in poverty-like conditions does not have adequate access to health care, pollution can have a detrimental effect on the person, especially when other poverty conditions are present.
A man named Andrew Almack traveled through South Asia in 2011. Upon visiting, he was shocked to see how many people lived in extreme poverty and how much plastic waste was present throughout the region. After visiting, Almack saw the great need for something to be done to reduce plastic waste and pollution. This same year, Almack founded Plastics For Change.
Plastics For Change strives to fight poverty and provide jobs for people in poor communities. The organization also strives to reduce plastic waste by creating and spreading ways to dispose of waste properly. Andrew Almack believed that there was a vast opportunity to use recycling as a way to reduce poverty. The organization encourages companies to switch to recycled plastic in hopes that even more brands will be involved in reducing pollution and fighting poverty.
Reducing Pollution To Fight Poverty
While pollution and poverty may seem unrelated, pollution often harshens the effects of already impoverished communities. Many believe that clean air and clean water shouldn’t be a privilege but that it should be a necessity. Plastics for Change, among many other organizations and nonprofits, has made reducing pollution to fight poverty a means of importance with the hopes that the world will see great change one day.
– Alesandra Cowardin
Photo: Wikimedia Commons