• Irene Kang (G6) Jangan Branch

Plastic Pollution

Did you know that plastic, which is very familiar to us, is the culprit of environmental pollution? Of course, there are many other problems causing environmental pollution; but plastic pollution is the main, serious problem. There are garbage islands around the world. More than 90 percent of garbage islands are made of plastic. As time passes, garbage islands are getting bigger and the numbers are increasing. Furthermore, plastic is not only threatening animals and giving a negative effect to the environment itself, but it is also affecting us. Now, what kind of trouble or problems does plastic cause?

Plastic is polluting chunks of land and the bodies of water more and more every day. The materials that make up plastic are non-biodegradable. It has a chemical structure that microorganisms cannot decompose easily, if not at all. For example, styrofoam cups take up to fifty years to decompose, disposable diapers take up to 450 years, and fishing lines take 600 years to break out. Not to mention that other toys, tableware, clothing, industrial products among others are thrown away indiscriminately too.

Most of the unmanaged plastic enters the ocean and is not taken care of, or it is way too much to control at once. As mentioned in the research of collecting coastal garbage, 75 percent of the world’s coastal garbage is made of plastic. Approximately about eight million tons of plastic is being dumped into the sea each year. It is estimated that there are about 300 million tons of plastic garbage at sea. If this situation persists, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

Plastic is negatively affecting the whole ecosystem, from plants, animals up to us, humans. Non-biodegradable plastic is corroded by UV-rays and wasp. This kind of plastic becomes fine plastic, which is smaller than five millimeters and is unable to collect. Not to mention, we can easily encounter fine plastic around us. Furthermore, the majority of the sea animals eat this fine plastic, and that causes a big concern about the intake of fine plastic by bioaccumulation.

Bioaccumulation, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is the gradual accumulation of substances, such as pesticides, or other chemicals in an organism. Furthermore, bioaccumulation happens when a living organism inhales a substance, in this case, plastic, at a rate faster than what they can expel from their bodies. Different types of fine plastic have hepatotoxicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxic can cause deformity, which is very harmful to both, animals and humans.

Lastly, it is too difficult to clean and get rid of plastic. Many other countries are studying various species such as bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, and insects that can help the degradation of plastic. They are exploring Polar Regions, the deep sea, dices, and researching microorganisms with plastic revolving.

However, we need much more money to develop a technology apt to do such work. I personally think that it is good to think of ways to clean the mess that we already created, but do not forget that it is never too late to create change and help our ecosystem. We should think about all the negative effects or environmental disturbance when we dispose of plastic or other types of material that is bot biodegradable. Starting now might bring some hope to humanity and its ecosystem by the year 2050.

To sum up, there is a variety of problems that are caused by the use and disposal of plastic in the environment. Plastic is polluting our environment, threatening its living creatures, and it is hard to clean or get rid of. There is too much plastic rubbish in the sea. Therefore, if we do not solve it now or in the near future, the water bodies will be covered with plastic by 2050. For that reason, we should know the problems that plastic pollution brings, its seriousness, and to try to bring up the right solution for it. From now, let us be conscious of the effects that our actions bring and realize how we are killing our own ecosystem.

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