The 20th century was shaped by a new world of cheap, convenient and disposable products. The lead, takes certainly the material called plastic. Scientists invented it and presented it as a perfect creation, because its indestructible. Particularly, it served the American army in the world war 2, when 85% of the plastic production was made for the military.
Nowadays you are often confronted with terms like “plastic islands” in the ocean. Nobody knows how they look like nor where they are – but does this problem even exist?
The “big pacific garbage patch” is located at the north-western island of Hawaii, called Midway island, where all the pacific flows come together. The plastic gathering doesn’t appear like an island on its own. The reason why, is because the garbage is beneath the surface. The size of it, is more than twice the size of the state Texas. The most visible part of plastic is seen on the beaches of the islands. These islands build or serve like a huge comb, which filters the plastic out of the ocean.
All this material harms the nature and their inhabitants. Fishing nets, made of nylon plastic come together and form something like a tumble weed. Tangling up, breaking and collecting coral heads all over the ocean. More than 640 000 drifting fishing nets are estimated in the ocean. Those nets are also catching fish and bigger animals, who can’t escape and die.
After a time, plastic breaks down by the sun and photodegrades or rather collapses. The older the plastic is, the smaller it becomes. Exactly this micro-plastic moves up the food chain. It’s a huge transport mechanism for toxic in the environment. From the tiniest plankton to the largest animals, everyone is affected.
All marine life and every animal living at the sea, suffers from plastic consumption. Plastic is composed of pure chemistry, it contains chemical substances like PCB (coolant, insulator), DDT (pesticide), PAH (oil, coal by-product) and BPA. Those are the triggers for diabetes, brain disorders, cancer and other chronic diseases. A study shows that 93% of all Americans have BPA in their bodies. BPA can go directly through your skin into your blood. For example, by touching plastic bill papers (thermal papers), which we grab almost every day.
1 million plastic bags are thrown away in a minute. 85 million plastic bottles are used every 3 minutes. Of all this amount, just 30% are recyclable. The recyclability of plastic is just an industrial illusion. They use this trick to make bottles more “economic” and customer-friendly. Those 30% are mostly getting down-cycled, that means this plastic is used for new materials like benches and other objects. All this down-cycling process happens in China. Coincidentally Americas number 1# shipping export to China is scarp and trash.
Plastic pollution in the environment as well harming people’s health is ignored by the producers, because it’s still a huge business. The 5 largest oil and gas companies profit of the production of plastic.
The future of our planet depends on every individual. We as customers underestimate the power we have - Stop buying plastic bags and bottles, renouncing plastic in general is a big right step forward for us and our planet.
Otherwise in the year 2050, the world-wide plastic production is estimated by over 2 trillion pounds per year.
Autor: Felix Schneider IMB4