Plastic Pollution

1575 words 7 pages
The overuse of plastics in today's society has become major environmental issue for our oceans. Plastic pollution is the dumping, littering, or disposing of any type of man-made plastic that has been produced and has ended up in our ocean and has not been recycled.

History of Plastic
"Plastic" entered the world through chemistry in 1909 and was originally coined to describe Bakelite, the first fully synthetic resin. What make's plastic so unique is when it is heated it can be molded but it retained its shape when cooled (Reddy, 2010). The modern plastic bag was not possible until the accidental discovery of the first industrially practical method of polyethylene synthesis in 1933. Fast forward to today, the use and
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Seabirds undergo a similar ordeal, mistaking the pellets for fish eggs, small crab and other prey, sometimes even feeding the pellets to their young. Despite the fact that only 0.05% of plastic pieces from surface waters are pellets, they comprise about 70% of the plastic eaten by seabirds. These small plastic particles have been found in the stomachs of 63 of the world's approximately 250 species of seabirds.

Effects on Humans
Plastic becomes toxic once it enters the ocean environment. Particles are magnets for different types of pollutants, such as DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants), and expel harmful chemicals such as BPA (Bisphenol A). Organisms at the bottom of the food chain, such as plankton and krill, ingest the chemicals along with the microscopic plastic particles. As larger fish consume the smaller ones, the chemicals work their way up the food chain. Ultimately, people consume the largest fish, having a devastating effect on human health. In addition we know that plastic pollution leads to birth defects, cancer, disease, and even death.

What is Being Done
In 1987, a law was finally passed restricting the dumping of plastics into the ocean. The Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act (MARPOL) went into effect on December 31, 1988, making it illegal for any U.S. vessel or land-based operation to dispose of


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