The Impact of Plastic in Our Oceans

By Pablo

 

Plastic is ending up everywhere in the planet, let’s change that.

Animals, plants, water and humans are victims from excess rubbish in the ocean everyday. Plastic is ending up in every corner of the planet such as touristic beaches, inhabited islands and up to eleven kilometers deep in the ocean. This has a dangerous effect on marine living organisms, every aspect of the ocean food chain and in the meals we eat. Reusable plastic must be recycled and properly treated to have an impact in the quality of our ocean.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 12.18.32 PMThe greenpeace website stated that each year there is an estimated 12.7 million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean, which is a truckload of plastic or rubbish every minute dumped into our seas. If no one does anything soon, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean within the next twenty five years. 

Yes, not all plastic can be recycled, and yes they are not all recycled the same way. But for the ones that can be, society needs to make an effort to do so. There are seven types of plastic, only three of those are recyclable and must be if we want to make an impact to the quality of the ocean. These three plastics are PET, HDPE and PP. 

The first one is Polyethylene Terephthalate found in soda or water bottles, only about 25% of it is recycled, this number has to increase in order to make a difference. The next type of plastic is called High-Density Polyethylene, it is a safe thicker plastic found in milk jugs, body wash or soap containers and hard thick products like children’s toys. The last type of recyclable plastic is called polypropylene, this is the transparent material found in cereal bags, tupperware, yogurt containers and others, only about 3% of this is annually recycled in the US. What harms the environment is that the recyclable plastics, are not even being recycled.

The plastic we use and not recycle is traveling all around the globe and appearing in the most remote parts of Earth. Nail McCarthy said, “Plastic has already been found at the bottom of the Arctic and Antarctic oceans, and on uninhabited Pacific islands thousands of miles from civilisation.” After having reduced the amount of plastic poured in the ocean, we have to remove the one that it is already in it, but how can we if we don’t know where it is?

As mentioned before, all the plastic that is recyclable must be reused and properly saved in order to have an impact in the quality of the ocean. Some of the environmental techniques one can implement to have an individual impact in the quality of nature is to reduce use of single use plastic, such as straws, water bottles, ordering or buying products with excess wrapping or plastic… Instead, use metal/reusable straws, grocery reinforced bags, and most importantly have a metal or hard plastic reusable water bottle with you, lastly, eat freshly cooked meals not only to reduce plastic use but also to better improve your health as well.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 12.18.39 PMAnother thing that everyone should be implementing the 5 Rs, Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Remove and Recycle. Reduce, your own use of plastic, reuse bottles, bags, and other products, refuse straws and other useless products by saying “no straw please”. If you have the chance, remove, just pick trash you see on the ground, park… Finally, recycle the plastic you will no longer use. Many countries are doing a good job by having public recycling bins and companies. European countries are doing the best job in recycling, while Asia and South America only occupy only 4 places in the top recycling countries. 

Reducing the use of plastic, recycling the little recyclable type of plastic and implementing environmental techniques that reduce the  impact in the ecosystem, will reduce the amount of plastic found and dumped in the currently polluted oceans every year crucially.

 

Works Cited

Disposal, Bay. “Recycling Responsibly: What Types of Plastic Are Recyclable?” Bay Disposal; Recycling, Bay Disposal & Recycling, 6 Oct. 2017, http://www.baydisposal.com/recycling-responsibly-types-plastic-recyclable/.

“HORRORS OF THE DEEP; Plastic Carrier Bag Found in the Deepest Ocean Trench.” Daily Mail (London), 10 May 2018. Questia Schoolwww.questiaschool.com/read/1G1-537978050/horrors-of-the-deep-plastic-carrier-bag-found-in. Accessed 2 Apr. 2019.

Kinematics. “The Different Types of Plastics and How They Are Recycled.” General Kinematics, General Kinematics, 11 Aug. 2014, http://www.generalkinematics.com/blog/different-types-plastics-recycled/.

McCarthy, Niall. “The Countries Winning The Recycling Race [Infographic].” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 Mar. 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2016/03/04/the-countries-winning-the-recycling-race-infographic/#44d4d3492b3d.

“Ocean Plastic.” Greenpeace UK, http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/what-we-do/oceans/plastics/.

“Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 8 May 2018, news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/ocean-plastic-patch-south-pacific-spd/.

“Plastic production is the problem, and not plastic waste.” breakingNEWS.ie [All Ireland], 11 Mar. 2019. Global Issues in Contexthttp://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A577913226/GIC?u=60iskl&sid=GIC&xid=82af80c Accessed 2 Apr. 2019.