In 2018, recycling and not littering has become very common for an average person in California. Despite the hard work and dedication to recycling and giving people fines for littering any piece of trash, we still have a problem with plastic waste and taking care of environment. Recycling bins are known to be around for a while now and are used to help reduce the polluting of our environment. However plastic waste is the one product that is destroying our planet the most. Our main problem with plastic is that it causes pollution.
Plastic pollution is the discard of plastic debris which results in it being everywhere polluting the land, environment, and the ocean. It affects our land, our air, our health, and our oceans. Plastic waste and the usage of so many plastic products is a huge issue internationally to our environment in various amounts of ways, however all these problems have many solutions to them.
One of the issues of plastic waste is that plastic has increased over the years as many companies produce products with plastic. Plastic is known to be the leader of packaging and of product goods. As production and use of plastic has increased over the years, a majority of plastic waste is now in our environment. As a whole population, we have been getting better at recycling, but the amount of plastic waste that is adding to our existing waste is huge. According to the book, “Plastic Waste: Ecological and Human Health Impacts”, it states, “most plastic waste is disposed of in landfill sites where, although not visible, it may still come to the surface as ‘debris’.
In addition, the conditions within landfill “may cause the chemicals contained within plastic to become more readily available to the environment”(Science Communication Unit,8). This shows that plastic waste is known to not be environment friendly. Even though we recycle and do our contribution, plastic waste is still thrown into landfills that expose plastic to our environment. This statement also shows that although we have a process to eliminate plastic waste it still causes some sort of problem. The problem being that little pieces of plastic end up everywhere (This is also one of the main problems referred to as “plastic debris” later on). Since these pieces of plastic are so small they are hard to be controlled and maintained. It is also very dangerous because chemicals are exposed to the atmosphere and this ends up being very dangerous for us.
Another example is that in the book, “Plastic Waste: Ecological and Human Health Impacts”, is that it states, “Microplastics are a significant issue in plastic waste, partly because they are more difficult to monitor, and partly because they may have greater impacts at a chemical and physical level on ecosystems and human health” (Science Communication Unit,6). This example shows that “microplastics” (Another name for plastic debris) causes difficulty for our environment because when trying to dispose of this plastic waste, it creates plastic debris, causing humans to have difficulty in keeping track of these plastic pieces, resulting in causing greater problems chemically and physically to our ecosystem.
A solution to all this plastic waste is if we make most plastic products to be biodegradable, meaning that it will be easier for plastic products to be destroyed. The products wouldn’t take up to 100 years to be destroyed and creates a quicker process to get rid of plastic products. It will also reduce the pollution that’s in our air, since the process of destroying plastic causes a certain smell. As much as humans may love the smell or like the smell of plastic, that certain smell causes harm to the atmosphere and humans. If we make these products biodegradable it can help reduce the process of destroying plastic.
Also, making plastic to be biodegradable can make products be easily recycled into our environment and it will help our soil and planet remain safe and healthy. This can also help from plastic just laying around our streets and cities. It can prevent from it staying too long and making the streets look messy, instead it can just easily just be decomposed and help streets look cleaner.
Another issue with plastic is that affects our environment badly is the single usage of plastic bags. In the article, “Reducing single-use plastic shopping bags in the USA” by Travis P. Wagner it states, “The average lifespan of a single use plastic bag is only 12 min. Since the 1980s, consumers have been habitual- ized into expecting free, single-use plastic shopping bags” (Wagner, 5). Ever since consumers have been shopping at grocery stores, many of the buyers get plastic bags every single time they shop. Most people use recycle bags as trash bags too (I know this personally because my family still uses them to this day) and the article also states, “55% of this amount was reuse for trash bags” (Wagner, 5).
This causes another problem because many people use them for trash bags resulting the bags to be disposed of improperly. Because of this it causes a problem when they throw the trash out to the garbage. They will throw the plastic trash bag in the trash since they used it as a bag for other trash and not the recycle bin. This then causes it to damage our environment because most plastic bags are not biodegradable, since they are being thrown in with the regular trash it makes it harder for plastic bags to be destroyed. Another bad thing about single use plastic bags is that since they don’t weigh very much and they are very light.
Since they don’t weigh very much it’s so easy for the plastic bags to travel, especially when they aren’t disposed of properly. The article also states that the,“ease with which bags can flyaway is a primary cause of them becoming land-litter and eventually marine debris” (Wagner, 5). This means that because of this it’s so easy for these bags to travel into the atmosphere making them result into random places and into ocean and for them to be in random landfills for years without being destroyed. This shows the ways that “single use-bags” are a main problem to our environment and cause harm to them. Single use bags are used for our every day to day shopping and only last about 12 minutes and then they are no good use.
The solution to ending the single use plastic bags, is if we can all stop using them and actually start buying reusable bags. In California the law was passed for the charge of bags since most trash is plastic and many people litter. The reason being that they are so light and easy to fly plastic gets everywhere. If we could just stop using plastic bags it can help us decrease the plastic waste. We could also get everyone involved is if we just have every state pass a law that charges you for the single use plastic bags. This is a solution to decreasing the plastic waste in our environment and ocean.
Another problem with plastic waste is that some plastic affect our oceans and our marine animals. In the article, “The Effects of Plastic Pollution on Aquatic Wildlife: Current Situations and Future Solutions” by Michelle Sigler she states that “plastics are lightweight, inexpensive, and durable” (Sigler, 1). This causes many problems to the marine life especially when plastic results being in ocean. Since plastic turns into small pieces (plastic debris) and floats around in the water it can make animals think it’s food.
Not only does some of the plastic stay in the surface, but it can also sink down to the ocean where animals other animals result eating as well. This causes plastic to end up, “in animals stomachs or around their necks, but there is also growing concern that plastics are acting as a medium for invasive species” (Sigler, 2). This shows the damage that the plastic is causing these marine animals and how not only does it affect animals that are already living, but can result being a problem in us not being able to discover other unknown species since perhaps they are also eating plastic and dying before humans even discover it.
Plastic is found in their bodies and it’s known according to the article, “The Effects of Plastic Pollution on Aquatic Wildlife: Current Situations and Future Solutions” it states that, “Ingested plastic debris reduces stomach capacity, hinder growth, cause internal injuries, and create intestinal blockage” (Sigler,2). Many animals get stuck with plastic around their neck causing difficulty for them to breathe and move around, which can cause them to die if they’re not found already dead.
The main marine species that is affected by plastic debris are sea turtles. Sea turtles eat jellyfish which is primary food source for them. So when they see plastic bags they will eat them causing them many problems. Sea turtles, for the last 40 years, “37.2 % of them had plastic in their gastrointestinal tracts” (Sigler,3). Many sea turtles are now almost extinct due to the fact that they are affected by plastic in some way. The way this affects the ocean itself is that this will only get worse for oceans as time goes.
Some recent studies in the article “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean”, by Jenna R. Jambeck, studies show that, “assumed conversion rates of mismanaged plastic waste to marine debris are (high, 40%; mid, 25%; low, 15%)” (Jambeck, 770). This shows that this waste won’t get lower however, it will result in it doing the opposite.
The way plastic waste will grow is because it won’t ever stop coming into landfills and only more and more waste will pile up resulting in an even worse situation for our oceans because some plastic will end up in the ocean surface and floor. This is how plastic debris is really bad for our ocean and especially our marine animals because the result of plastic being in our ocean causes them to eat them and get stuck in unfortunate situations.
The solution to the problem of plastic being in our ocean and affecting marine life is that people can individually go out of their way to avoid using plastic products when near the ocean. From history here close to Fresno, Monterey Bay and San Francisco were one of the first to ban plastic bags since it was affecting the oceans really badly. It is important to ban plastic plastic bags and plastic products especially if they are closer to the ocean. The usage of plastic products near oceans causes people to litter and it easily falls into the ocean. Like the single use bags, the solution of charging for plastic bags applies here, but it would be better if we ban plastic products in areas like these.
People in San Francisco and Monterey Bay shop near the water and people visit and take pictures near the oceans. This results in people littering and causing more damage to our oceans and marine animals. Another solution that helps sea turtles is the act that is going to ban the use of plastic straws. A youtube video by CBS news states that in the upcoming year,2019, in California straws will only be given when requested.
The Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill to cut down on pollution that he says had led to disastrous consequences for ocean wildlife. This also shows that individuals can avoid getting a straw and not request them and help reduce the usage of plastic straws. Individuals can also buy their own reusable straws and take them out with them or not use plastic straws at all. This is a contribution to helping save many lives of marine animals and they won’t eat plastic straws. These solutions can help bring progress on banning plastic products and help them from affecting our oceans and our animals in many ways.
Another unfortunate resulting because of plastic waste is that many humans are affected by it too. Since plastic breaks down into smaller pieces it gets into water filtration systems and ends up in most seafood. An issue to this is stated in the article, “The Price of Plastic” by Charles Grosenick is that it states that all plastics are, “made with chemicals that are harmful to humans” (Grosenick, 2). This shows that it’s an issue because plastic is made from chemicals that are harmful to humans and when it breaks down into our filtration systems it can cause physical and visible problems to humans. It causes physical and visible problems by getting the humans sick by giving off a bad chemical. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, “high levels of bisphenol A (used in plastic) can lead to heart disease, diabetes, miscarriages, and much higher levels of certain liver enzymes” (Grosenick, 2). This shows that plastic can cause health problems to humans and affect them badly.
Another bad factor that adds on is plastic bags are produced, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, with, “nonylphenol, a chemical that can lead to obesity, breast cancer, and harmful effects on pregnant women and fetuses” (Grosenick, 2). This also shows how it affects humans and causes more health problems without even trying. It can ruin our environment and even the humans that come in contact with it.
Another thing is that bags sometimes are destroyed which is a burning process that causes plastic to be burned. When plastic waste is burned it releases chemicals into our air causing pollution. The chemicals it gives off are “carbon dioxide, carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins” (Grosenick, 2). These chemicals are released and can cause an additional health factor to us. They can cause humans to get very sick and cause them many health problems. This shows that plastic waste doesn’t only affect animals, but also humans and their health.
A solution to this is to stop people from using plastic products that affect them is the usage of products that don’t require plastic. A product that can help reduce the usage of plastic and that can help from being wasting so much money on water bottles is a edible water bottle or a bubble of water that is called “Ohoo”. According to a youtube video by Mashable Deals, it is a capsule made up of seaweed that contains water inside. The making of this product is to help reduce plastic and take plastic out of the equation. This can help people from getting sick from the chemicals inside a water bottle and help them from wasting money on water bottles that people use everyday.
Another product people can use to help them from using plastic is buying themselves a reusable water bottle. One of the most common nowadays is the Hydro-flask which is BPA free and keeps your water very cold and can also keep your water very hot for hours. These are very beneficial to college students because sometimes students spend all day at schools and this water bottle helps keep them hydrated while not wasting plastic water bottles. This is something you can use everyday and can also help you from using plastic products that will only result in them causing people health problems and can also help people from wasting so much money every month for that 24 pack of water bottles.
Plastic is the cause of many problems in our environment from affecting human health, the air, oceans, and our marine animals. A law that we can put in is banning the usage of all plastic products. 20% of products are made of plastic and use plastic as a packaging or even the product is just made from plastic. In the state of California, we could ban at least 10 plastic items that cause the most damage to our environment. In the article, “A running list of action on plastic pollution”, it states that, “European Commission proposed a ban on ten common items that it says make up about 70 percent of the litter in EU waters.
This includes plastic straws, drink stirrers, plates, and more.” (Gibbens, Howard, Parker, Zachos,2018). This shows that they are banning the 10 most common products to help better their environment due to plastic and plastic waste. If we were to pass a law or act that will ban the top ten most common plastic items it will reduce our number of plastic waste. If we continue to not watch our plastic waste and continue to use plastic products we could end up like India.
In the article, “A running list of action on plastic pollution” it also states that India has a fast growing economy and since india has a fast growing economy they “struggle to manage its vast waste stream, and is a significant contributor to global ocean plastic” (Gibbens, Howard, Parker, Zachos,2018). We could end up like India and forget about plastic waste and end having a really bad environment and top of that we could become a top contributor to global ocean plastic.
In conclusion, plastic waste is a major problem to our environment, our human health, and our oceans and marine life. Plastic is really bad for our environment and creates plastic debris, causing humans to have difficulty in keeping track of these plastic pieces, resulting in causing greater problems chemically and physically to our ecosystem. The solution to this problem is to make plastic products biodegradable. Making the products biodegradable makes them easy to decompose to our environment and cause less harm.
Another issue is the use of single use plastic bags cause problems by being used improperly and most of those plastic bags are being disposed of improperly. The solution to that is single use plastic bags to be banned and for people to use reusable bags. People can also buy a plastic bag if they like, but they will have to pay 10 cents for the bag.
Another issue of plastic is that plastic waste affects our ocean and marine animals. The way they affect our oceans and marine animals is that plastic stays on the surface of the water and some also sinks down to the ground level where most animals are. This causes animals to eat plastic causing damage to their intestines and even can result in animas being stuck in plastic. This results in animals dying and our ocean life stopping the cycle and even stop certain animals being found or identified.
The solution to this is banning plastic products near oceans. The ban of this will help from plastic easily resulting in the water since people love visiting oceans and usually litter and leave their trash and plastic water bottles that result falling into the ocean. Another solution is the ban of plastic straws. Plastic straws has become another major plastic product that marine animals eat.
Reducing the usage of plastic straws helps the marine animals from eating more plastic and from dying. Another problem with plastic is that it affects humans. The process of destroying plastic releases carbon dioxide, carcinogenic polycyclic, aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins into the atmosphere. Another issue is that the way plastic bags are produced is that they use a chemical called nonylphenol, that can lead to obesity and breast cancer. The solution to not having chemicals affect humans and from having the air polluted with so many plastic is to use a edible water bottle called “Ohoo”. This product doesn’t require plastic and reduces the usage of plastic water bottles.
Another solution is using Hydro-Flasks, which is a product most college use to refill their water and reduces the usage of buying water bottles. The Hydro-Flasks are also BPA free, helping humans from getting bad chemicals in their body. If we don’t take action right now and help our environment and society to reduce the usage of plastic products and ban them we will result like India. It is a very important matter and because their country has a fast growing economy just like us, they have a hard time maintaining their plastic waste and they’re a big waste contributor to oceans. It’s better to act now and take care of earth while we can, before we trash it and plastic destroys it. The sooner, the better and the faster we take care our environment, the better it will be for everyone in the long run.