How does plastic waste end up in the ocean

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:English

Document 1

The increased production and demand for plastic products is a significant concern in most countries because waste management infrastructure may not be developing at a suitable rate to deal with the increasing levels of plastic pollution. Plastic materials are significant sources of marine pollution. When plastic particles reach the ocean, wind and ocean currents can spread them around the globe(Gross,103). As a result, plastics spread across all oceans hence can be found in deep oceans and southern oceans. Ocean plastic pollution is a shocking issue due to its dangerous effects on all aspects of ecosystems. Environmental remediation solutions are required on a global scale to deal with this problem. Oceans have become refuse bin for all manner of plastic materials and products. Plastic wastes are recognized as a global problem as a result of environmental and health concerns. Approximately ten percent of all solid waste is plastic, up to eighty percent of the debris that accumulates on land, shorelines, the ocean surface, or seabed is plastic(Jambeck,769). Plastics have distinctive characteristics; they are inexpensive and corrosion resistant. This versatility has revolutionized our lives and not least made information technology and electrical goods far more readily available that would have been possible otherwise. They have also contributed to our health and safety. Unsurprisingly, with an ever-expanding population and our standard of living continuously improving, plastic production has increased from 0. to 260 million tonnes per year since the 1950s, accounting today for approximately eight percent of world oil production (Eriksen,64). Almost all aspects of our daily life involve plastics in some form or another.

Sign up to view the full document!

For example, from hair dryers to shoes and the car we drive. A scary thought considering that in the 1960s, less than one percent of our waste was plastic. We all know that our oceans and coastlines are choking on plastics. We have all seen plastic bottles, food wrappers and plastic bags polluting beaches and been horrified by the stories of marine creatures like seabirds and whales starving when their stomachs become packed full of plastics. Wind or rain can carry these plastics into our human-made drainage networks or rivers that then flows into the seas and oceans. These features are also hazardous to the marine environment. Almost half of the plastics are buoyant and remain so until they become waterlogged. Plastics do not biodegrade. Through abrasion plastics only break into smaller and smaller pieces so that the shortest marine life can consume them at the base of the food web.

Sign up to view the full document!

Plastic wastes also may end up in oceans due to insufficiently filtered wastewater. Back then during the year 2005 hurricane season, nearly 9 million cubic yards of debris was extended across a large volume of marshlands in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana(Jambeck,771). Weathering degradation of plastics in the oceans, the dominant cause of deterioration of plastics outdoors is solar UV radiation, which facilitates oxidative degradation of polymers. Cigarette tubs are also among the most regular litter items found on beaches in several parts of the world. In the southern North Sea, Maritime activities are sources of litter in the oceans. Plastics may also contaminate oceans by fly tipped sources whereby Illegal disposal of wastes including furnishings, pottery, and ceramics are disposed of in the seas and oceans. For example, in 2011 Japan’s Tohoku tsunami produced a quantity of floating debris comparable to 3,200 years’ worth of ‘normal’ debris input(Mattsson,1715).

Sign up to view the full document!

Most ocean plastic pollutants start on dry land as it is carried by wind and rain to the oceans. As it enters the sea, there is a near-continuous accumulation of waste. Every bit of plastic ever made still exist because of the durability property of plastic products. Due to its low density, plastic waste is readily transported long distances from source areas and concentrates in gyres, systems of rotating ocean currents(Gross,46). Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is an urgent problem that we need to start tackling now. The solutions for addressing plastic pollution are available but will require coordinated action across some sectors and stakeholders. Policy makers have a crucial role to play in creating the essential legislative framework to stimulate mitigation actions that contribute to a reduction in plastic waste at source, as well as encouraging cleaning up plastic pollution on coastlines before it does the most significant damage.

Sign up to view the full document!

There is a role for individuals, via appropriate use and disposal, particularly recycling, for industry adopting green chemistry, material reduction, and by designing products for reuse or end-of-life recyclability. Works cited: Eriksen, Marcus, et al. Gourmelon, Gaelle. Global plastic production rises, recycling lags.  New Worldwatch Institute analysis explores trends in global plastic consumption and recycling. Recuperado de http://www. worldwatch. et al. Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean.  Science 347. Mattsson, Karin, L-A. Hansson, and Tommy Cedervall.

Sign up to view the full document!

From $10 to earn access

Only on Studyloop

Original template

Downloadable