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What does plastic do to the ecosystem?

Jan 17, 2018

"This is a global crisis, and we are destroying the Marine ecosystem," said Lisa Svensson, head of the UN's oceans problem.

Why is there a plastic pollution problem?

As far as we know, plastic was not widely used until 60 or 70 years ago, but it immediately changed everything from clothing, cooking, catering to product design, engineering, and retail. There are many different types of plastics, one of the biggest advantages is that the design life is very long, and almost all plastic products are now in some form.

In July 2017, of the university of California, Santa Barbara, industrial ecologist Dr Roland gaye (Roland Geyer) and his colleagues published in the journal science progress a paper to calculate the number of humans so far all the plastic is 8.3 billion tons. About 6.3 billion tons of these are now plastic waste, and 79 percent of that is in landfills or natural environments. This huge waste is driven by modern life. In modern life, plastic is made into many "disposable" items, from beverage bottles and diapers to tableware and cotton swabs.

Four billion plastic bottles.

Beverage bottles are one of the most common plastic wastes. About 480 billion plastic bottles are sold worldwide in 2016, up to one million bottles per minute. Of those, 110 billion were made by beverage giant Coca-Cola. Many countries are considering measures to reduce the consumption of plastic bottles. Britain's proposals include a deposit refunding scheme, as well as improvements to free drinking water supplies in major cities, including London.

About 480 billion plastic bottles are sold worldwide in 2016, with an average of one million bottles per minute, 20,000 bottles per second. But less than 50% of plastic bottles are recycled, and only 7% are recycled into plastic bottles.

How much plastic waste ends up in the sea?

About 10 million tons of plastic disappear in the ocean each year. In 2010, scientists from the national center for ecological analysis and integration and the university of Georgia estimated that the figure was 8 million tons and projected to increase to 9.1 million tons by 2015. In 2015, published in the journal science, the same study, a survey of 192 coastal state Marine of plastic processing, according to the Asian countries of the 20 biggest emitters plastic 13.

Asia makes the world's largest Marine plastic waste.

Both China and the United States are big producers of plastic waste, with a high per capita waste rate. Plastic debris accumulates in the ocean, and the wind forms a whirlpool of gyre, which can suck in any floating debris. There are currently five global circulation, the most famous of which may be the north Pacific gyre. It is estimated that it will take about six years for the debris to travel from the U.S. coast to the north Pacific circulation center, and it will take about a year to start from Japan.

How long does Marine plastic waste degrade?

The concentration of plastic waste in all five of the circulations is higher than the rest of the ocean. They are made of tiny pieces of plastic that appear to be suspended under the surface of the sea, a phenomenon known as "plastic soup". And the wear-resistant quality of most plastics means that many plastics can take hundreds of years to break down. However, efforts to Cleanup the north Pacific ring have begun, and the action led by Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit group, will begin in 2018.

Given the wear-resistant quality of most plastics, they can take hundreds of years to degrade.

Why is plastic so harmful to Marine life?

For larger sea creatures such as seabirds and turtles, dolphins and seals, the danger is that they are trapped by plastic bags and other debris, or they mistake plastic for food. Turtles can't distinguish between plastic bags and jellyfish, and it's possible to swallow the plastic as food. Swallowing plastic bags can cause internal blockages, which usually lead to death. Large chunks of plastic also destroy the digestive system of seabirds and whales, potentially fatal. As time went on, the plastic waste slowly decomposed into tiny pieces, which attracted the attention of scientists.

A trip to the sea of plastic cotton swabs.

A recent survey by the university of Plymouth found that one in three of the fish found contained plastic, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish. This could lead to fish malnutrition or starvation and lead to human consumption of plastic. The effects of fish that contain plastic on humans are largely unknown. But in 2016, the European food safety administration warned: "given the potential for small plastic pollutants in commercial fish, their threat to human health and food safety is increasing.