Plastics: Ocean and Micro Plastic Beads Essay

Submitted By tkorte07
Words: 1630
Pages: 7

Troy Korte
Mrs. Menzel
AP Lang & Comp
5 Dec. 2012 Plastics in the Ocean The world today is full of fast cars and dangerous cities. Plastic is a deadly weapon loading its ammo to pollute and destroy the human environment. Even though plastic is recyclable and we use it in almost everything in today’s world, animals ingest the small microplastic causing it to end up in their digestive systems. Every non-disposable piece of plastic becomes very dangerous to our environment and marine-life. Although plastic is very hard to get rid of, manufacturing less plastic each day and only using micro plastic beads for the bare essentials in life, we can cut down on the pellets that are killing our marine-life. Animals and humans both eat living things. Whatever they eat affects their body. If animals are putting poisons in their body, such as plastic, it is our fault for not disposing of these plastics properly. Sarah Creswell wrote in “ICIS Chemical Business Weekly”,
“Invertebrates at the bottom of the food chain such as shellfish and mollusks often ingest microplastic and it winds up in their digestive tracts and tissues” (Creswell). These small creatures lurking at the bottom of the ocean are consumed by all sorts of other fish and marine life; therefore plastic is not only hurting one animal but possibly hundreds of them with just one piece of plastic. These tiny pieces of plastic are filling up the oceans and fish are mistaking these pellets for food, therefore ingesting these killer substances. The oceans take up more of the globe than land does making it the majority of our environment. Everything runs to a stream, to a river, then to the ocean causing bacteria, waste, and plastics into our oceans. Kalliopi Fotopoulou, an environmental chemist explains, “Understanding the surface alteration of plastics while in the marine environment increases our understanding of the pollutant–plastic debris interaction. Plastic pellets are widely distributed throughout the world oceans”(Fotopoulou). Mr. Fotopoulou has written many articles on the distribution of plastic pellets into our oceans and studies the harmful affects everyday. His research has proven that, “Surface properties such as point of zero charge, surface area and pore volume, surface topography, functional groups and acid–base behavior are important factors which affect sorption. Virgin plastic pellets had homogeneous smooth surfaces that do not have any acid–base behavior” (Fotopoulou). These plastics in our environment are so small and so smooth that nothing can even erode them. These plastics are camouflaged so that we cannot see them and neither can the animals who are ingesting the plastic. Because of the plastic flooding into our oceans, the plastic isn’t able to erode or decompose. Part of the FitzPatrick Institute at University of Cape Town, Peter G. Ryan reports, “The life-span of plastic particles in seabird stomachs is considerably longer than Day’s estimate of 6 months” (Ryan). The plastic in a seabirds stomach is taking over 6 months to decompose and making plastic build up in their intestines. The more plastic in the ocean the more plastic in these birds. Since we are not able to shut down production of plastic the only way to slow it down is by reducing the amount of plastic we make everyday. From his station in South Africa Peter Ryan states, “Growth of plastic industries in developing countries is likely to maintain the increase in the amount of plastic pollution at sea for some time” (Ryan). Plastic is being manufactured faster each and every day and the global society is still letting it fly under the radar. There needs to be nations teaming up together against the fight of plastic. If we team up as one, and cut down on the manufacturing of plastic the oceans will very slowly start to become plastic-free. Studies are still being done to find a way to control the plastics and somehow remove them from the ocean but it is a very challenging