Recycling of Plastic
For every innovation there are consequences. Plastic is a common term for synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers (dictionary.com). The term plastic is used unusually lightly in today’s world, ignoring its massive negative impact on our environment and overall health. For over 50 years, we have used plastic in our everyday routines, from brushing our teeth with a colorful synthetic material to purchasing plastic phone cases with aesthetically pleasing designs. Today we live in the “Age of Plastic”, millions of plastic products are produced each year and distributed throughout the world. The majority of these products arrive at a local waterway once used, resulting in a much more substantial problem, because no matter the size of plastic, millions of objects ends up in our oceans.
The impact a piece of plastic is enormous especially on numerous creatures.When cutting open a seagull, studies have shown that their digestive system has an overwhelming amount of bottle caps, plastic bags, diapers, bobby pins, wrappers, etc. Having the impression that it is food, the creatures begins to consume the plastic. But it slowly starts to build up in their stomach, undigested leaving little to no room left in their stomach for other food. The sharp edged plastic even punches holes into their internal organs. These two scenarios have the same outcome: death. Many people in society do not see the consequences of our actions, numerous of human beings throw trash on the beach and the waves carry it into the ocean. Plastic, never seems to disappear, this cheap resource that is incorporated into our everyday routines is making us pay for it in the long run. It takes nearly 450 years for plastic to biodegrade, and we produce about 300 million tons globally each year. Yet more than half of it ends up in our oceans because we do not recycle.
Every step we take there is a recycling bin at least 10 feet away from us but we always turn to the easiest option which is throw it onto the ground. When it rains the plastic goes into the sewers and its final destination is to be disposed into the ocean. These tendencies to willingly have careless actions, on where and how we dispose of our plastic is slowly impacting us in a crucial way. Food supply, specifically with the marine creatures, is sadly going to decrease by 2050. There will be more plastic than fish as stated in an article posted by, www.washingtonpost.com. This might lead to the misconception that the impression of being so far away it won’t not affect us entirely but regardless the sea creatures we eat now have a dietary of more than 9 different types of plastic in their system.
The benefits that fish give us when we intake it is tremendous. As stated in the article,“Health Benefits of Fish posted by Washington Post,” Fish contains,“omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.” But since the fish are now contaminated with pieces of plastic it doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits. It is a chain reaction that will have a closing point that ends with us. Once it is ingested by a sea creature, we capture it and eat it, now making it a part of our diet indirectly. Plastic contains numerous chemicals that can possibly affect you in the future. For example, when consumed you have a higher risk of cancer, birth defects, immune system suppression….etc I guess it is true what people say, you are what you eat. Additionally, plastic existing in the ocean will impact the food chain. Many animals rely on sea creatures for food, like bears, jaguars, wolves, snakes, turtles, etc.
Due to our laziness, by not taking plastic to the nearest recycling bin we are putting many animals in jeopardy of extinction and risking our own health and for future generations. It has been known to the public, for numerous years, that there are countless innovations in the process of being constructed to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans. Many of these projects including, The Ocean Cleanup, invented by Boyan Slat are funded by the people who want to see a change. After being shocked with all the plastic that is scatter in our great blue ocean, he wanted to create something at the age of 23 that could improve our polluted waters, and that is where the Ocean Cleanup was born.
The Ocean Cleanup, is an “ is developing a passive system, using the ocean currents as its driving force to catch and concentrate the plastic. By suspending a large sea anchor in a deep, slow moving water layer, we can slow down the system enough so that the plastic moves faster than the cleanup system. This will cause the plastic to accumulate against the cleanup system (www.theoceancleanup.com).” There vision is to hopefully clean up at least 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years. Boyan Slat wants to bring the movement of making the saying “there will be more plastic than fish by 2050.” He plans to break down larger pieces of plastic so it won’t become dangerous microplastics and affect other living creatures. If everything goes according to plan Boyan believes, “combining the cleanup with source reduction on land paves the road towards a plastic free ocean by 2050 (https://www.theoceancleanup.com).”
But not only is Boyoan the only person who feels there needs to be a change but also many other smaller companies are selling bracelets to help this cause and protect the marine life. The page is called, 4Ocean Bracelet, for each bracelet you purchase the team removes one pound of trash including plastic from the ocean’s surface. The bracelet itself is made from 100% recycled items, which is amazing! It represents a great cause, wearing a clear blue bracelet that represents something with much meaning to it.I have purchased one, I am now infusing my peers around me to look into it and realize how much of an impact they would be making if they purchased one!