10 Lines On Plastic Pollution. In the 1960s, plastic began a revolution. Consumers were excited about the new single-use life. Plastic meant fewer dishes, cheaper toys, stretchable polyester, technological advancements and so much more. What consumers didn’t know is that a plastic that’s used for minutes will live on this earth for up to a thousand years. During that time, the fork will break down into billions of microscopic pieces called microplastics.
10 Lines On Plastic Pollution For Kids And Student’s
For 60 years, we have been trying our own noose. Now, we’re choking under the weight of an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic that is smothering our oceans, waterways, and fragile ecosystems. Half of this material was made in just the past 13 years and only 9 percent of the total plastic produced has been recycled.
This careless mass production of virgin plastic has led to a challenge like no other in human history, how to clean it up.
What do we do about the trash islands in the Pacific Ocean? How do we make sure our drinking water is clean? And how do we make sure that none of this happens again?
10 lines on Plastic Pollution ( Set – 1 )
- Most products in use today contain some sort of plastic. In total, almost 2 million tons of plastic are being produced annually, worldwide.
- Most of this plastic eventually ends up in our oceans due to anything from poor consumer habits to shipping spills.
- Because plastic is so slow to break down, it can wash up on shore hundreds of miles from its origin.
- Without realizing it, we’ve allowed about 40 million plastic bottles and 500 billion plastic bags to reach our oceans, affecting a huge range of ecosystems.
- 80 percent of plastic circulating in the oceans is believed to come from pollution off of shorelines with 20 percent from fishing gear, boats, and ships.
- About 10 thousand shipping containers fall into the ocean each year.
- The North Pacific Ocean now contains around 5-10 million tons of plastic, forming a plastic island.
- This island is actually a huge, solid, floating clutter of plastic pieces that extend deep into the ocean called a Garbage patch.
- Scientists have discovered more of these garbage patches that have just as much plastic, if not more.
- When these plastics reach our shorelines and oceans, they can harm marine wildlife by getting caught around necks or in stomachs.
10 lines on Plastic Pollution ( Set – 2 )
- Sea turtles have ingested plastic bags, thinking it could be a jellyfish, and then died due to stress.
- Cetaceans, such as dolphins or whales who also ingest dirty plastic in the ocean caused them to die and sink into the ocean’s floor.
- Even birds such as pelicans or seagulls are affected.
- Many sea birds eat zooplankton and thus can’t tell what is plastic and what is not due to color and size.
- They ingest this plastic which harms their digestive system.
- Female birds who have offspring are not only harming themselves but are also feeding some of this plastic to their young ones, unknowingly poisoning them.
- The plastic fork that we threw away will break down over the next one thousand years into billions of particles called microplastics.
- Microplastics are becoming such a problem in areas of the ocean, particularly near the trash islands, that the water looks cloudy and murky.
- These particles come from the billions of tons of plastic floating around in the ocean and degrading in sunlight.
- Microplastics can also come from the wearing down of rubber tires on asphalt, plastic beads in soaps, processing facilities, and plenty of other places.
10 lines on Plastic Pollution ( Set – 3 )
- Microplastics particles can be highly toxic.
- Some argue that since there is no way for organisms to process plastic.
- The particles are inert and pass through without any harm.
- This often isn’t the case. As these particles are very good at picking up pops or persistent organic pollutants.
- These are highly toxic chemicals that come from pesticide runoff, medical waste burning, manufacturing, and industrial applications.
- Organisms at the bottom of the food chain like zooplankton uptake these particles.
- And as their predators and the predators of the predators travel up the food chain, microplastics accumulate in tissue. Yes, we are part of that food chain too.
- Microplastic is new mercury when it comes to seafood.
- Up until just a few years ago, plastics were created to last as long as possible, now the game is changing.
- Bioplastics are made from organic material and intentionally break down much faster than petroleum-based plastics.
10 lines on Plastic Pollution ( Set – 4 )
- The two most common types of bioplastics are polylactic acid, PLA, and Polyhydroxyalkanoate PHA.
- PLA is typically made from plant fibers such as corn, while PHA is usually made inside engineered microorganisms.
- Both are much more biodegradable than petroleum plastics and PHA is even used for things like medical sutures because it can biodegrade harmlessly inside of the human body.
- The largest issue with bioplastics right now is that they can’t be recycled in the same way as we’re used to.
- They may be compostable, but if you can’t find a compost bin they’ll probably end up in the recycling bin where they could contaminate an entire batch of some other type of plastic.
- Also, bioplastic production can still have side products.
- PLA made from plant fibers, often corn requires a large land area to grow stock.
- Which competes with food production and uses more pesticides and fertilizers.
- There is a light on the horizon though.
- These problems are largely to do with scale and infrastructure. As the use of bioplastic increases, awareness and access to proper disposable will rise.
Now the road ahead won’t be easy or short, but change is possible. And in the meantime, using more alternatives to traditional plastic can prevent the problem from growing.
We can’t afford to become complacent, but through diligence and changing the way we think about plastic, the mess we’ve gotten our planet into can be fixed.