Causes and current status of plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is a global problem with an exponential increase in both the number of consumers and the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis. Many of these products are single-use items that are thrown in the trash after one use. But what happens to all this plastic when the trash can is emptied? It doesn't just disappear into the air. Most of the plastic that is discharged into the environment ends up in the ocean. One of the most pressing environmental problems facing us today is marine plastic litter.

There are two main sources of marine plastic litter.

It includes garbage discarded from land that has flowed into the sea or washed away with rainwater. This includes debris discharged at sea from ships and boats, as well as fishing waste such as plastic strings from bait troughs, discarded fishing lines and nets, and discarded fishing gear. Abandoned fishing gear has a negative impact on the marine environment by involving marine life and destroying coral reefs, but it accounts for only about 20% of all marine litter, and 80% of all marine litter comes from land. It is said that. Plastic and Styrofoam (Styrofoam) make up 90% of all marine debris, and single-use food and beverage containers are among the most common items found in marine and coastal surveys. Considering that about 50% of all plastics are single-use products, this is not all that surprising.

How much plastic pollution do you think there is in the ocean?



How many plastic patterns are the major contributors to marine pollution? A study published in 2017 estimated that between 1.15 and 2.41 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean via rivers each year, peaking between May and October. The top 20 contributing rivers, most of them in Asia, account for about 67% of all plastic that flows into the ocean from rivers worldwide, according to the report.
Demand for plastics has increased dramatically over the last 70 years. According to Plastic Ocean, the world produces 300 million tonnes of plastic each year. Half of that plastic goes into single-use disposables. As a result, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year. Once plastic is thrown into the sea, it does not disappear easily.
The Japanese government disposes of nearly 100,000 tons of beach trash annually. Much of it originates from China, which, along with Indonesia, is generally considered one of the largest producers of plastic waste, producing about 8.82 million tonnes in 2010. Nearly 80% of the beach trash found in Okinawa Prefecture is thought to be from China, although trash has also been found along the coastlines of Kyushu and Honshu.

How does plastic decompose?

Plastic degrades over time, which can take hundreds of years. In many cases, it does not decompose and dissolves into microplastics. Most of the plastics discovered by researchers were polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in single-use plastics such as food packaging.
It is not yet clear what effect this plastic has on human beings and other organisms, such as damage and reproduction. It is not the plastic itself that is the problem, but the resin contained in the microplastic attracts chemical pollution such as persistent organic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). It has been. Although there is evidence that PCBs and PAHs cause neurological and hormonal damage, there is no consensus on potential harm. The waters around Japan have a higher concentration of microplastics than the global average, and a survey of 29 rivers in Japan found that all rivers contain microplastics. The highest concentrations are found in populated areas, where pollutants flow from land to sea. It's estimated that 90% of plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 of the world's rivers, making it an urban problem.

So how can we reduce plastic waste?

In order to reduce marine plastics, we consumers also need to keep the "3Rs" in mind.

What are the 3Rs?

Reduce (Reduce)
Reuse (Reuse)
Recycle
For example, reduce means to use things carefully and reduce the amount of things that become waste.
You can reduce garbage by using your own bag or using your own bottle.
Reuse is done by using refillable products or sharing items that are no longer needed.
Instead of throwing out old things and buying new ones, there are ways to recycle them.

In recycling, there are many things that can be done around us, such as correctly separating plastics and using recycled products. Starting in July 2020, charging for all plastic bags will lead to a significant reduction in plastic usage.

Here are some facts about how much plastic the average person uses each year.

How to reduce plastic waste at home?

in the bathroom

Use sustainable, single-use disposable razors instead of single-use plastic razors. Unfortunately, more than 2 billion razors end up in landfills each year, which leads to the plastic bodies of bathroom essentials breaking down into smaller plastic pieces, creating hazardous waste and saving the community. of wildlife and the environment. You can reduce garbage by switching to an eco-toothbrush.

A bamboo toothbrush can be used as a compost after use as it is a product that replaces a regular plastic toothbrush. If you have a container for shampoo bottles, etc., you can buy only refills and you won't have a big bottle of waste. Make your own deodorant, dish soap, cleaning detergent, and more

Like disposable razors, most deodorant packaging falls into the non-recyclable category, creating more landfills and increasing the risk of soil contamination. There are a variety of DIY deodorant recipes available online that work on more sustainable ways to stop sweat and its odor.
Click here for recipes that are often made overseas here .

in the kitchen?

Unfortunately, normal saran wrap is difficult to recycle, and if it accumulates in underground waterways, it is said to take hundreds of years to decompose, and the accumulated chemical substances lead to environmental pollution. Sustainable products such as my bottles, lunch boxes, and tumblers create a waste-free environment.

Glass is 100% recyclable, but 91% ends up in landfills and oceans, with the exception of plastic, which is 9% recyclable. Plastic has been used because it is light and easy to use, but if it continues to be used as it is, various environmental destructions are imminent.

References

CSIRO
Christopher Green and Susan Jobling Sea of ​​plastic. The science behind movies.
Greenpeace plastic debris in the world's oceans