How Plastic Pollution Can Impact Both Marine Life and Human Health

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How Plastic Pollution Can Impact both Marine Life and Human Health

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In the past years, people do not aware of pollution and their effects on the environment because they do not believe that may be at one day impact their health. Moreover, this pollution could occur from human industrials and activities. One of the resources of pollution problem is plastic pollution. To understand this problem in details, there will explain the definition of plastic and pollution from the Oxford dictionary (Anon., 2018). Plastic defines as “A synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc., that can be molded into shape while soft, and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form.”. Pollution is “The presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects.” Therefore, plastic pollution is the harmful effects on the environment done by plastic. Li and others argue that since early 1970, plastic pollution reported in North Atlantic and occurs in shorelines, sediments, beaches, and water bodies. They clarify the hazards done by plastic debris for example entanglement and ingestion and the main reason of largely neglected the problem of plastic debris is lack of reports that centering on entanglement encounters between plastic and marine organisms (Li, et al., 2016). The detection of plastic debris affects the remote areas just like the close area of industrial activities (Lebreton, et al. as cited in Li, et al.,2016). However, there are some researches trying to focus on the plastic pollution problem analysis, studying statistics, and trying to find solutions to limit the propagation of it. This essay will exposures the problem of plastic pollution, discusses two solutions that may fix the problems: reduce using a single-use plastic bag in the United State (USA) and recycling computer waste in the United Kingdom (UK), and evaluating them. First, showing the effect of plastic on organisms. Then illustrating the problem of a single-use plastic bag, identifying the solution of reducing single-use plastic bags in the USA, and assessment the solution. After that, explaining the problem of electronic and electrical waste, sympathizing the solution done in the UK which is recycling electronic and electrical waste, and the assessment of it. Finally, summarizing the essay by concluding the topics that have been dissection.

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Plastic pollution can impact the organism life that may affect human health. The source of plastic is either landfills, which represent 80 percent come from using plastic bags, solid waste disposal, and littering or ocean, the state remaining 20 percent as a commercial fishing (Li, et al., 2016). To illustrate, every year about 10 percent of marine debris which is approximately 640,000 ton derive from discarded fishing gear. Sigler discusses the effects of plastic pollution on Marine Biodiversity like birds, fish, turtles, and cetacean. Because of the shape and colors of plastic pieces, birds cannot distinguish between plastic and food. Different studies conclude that the amount of plastic in the stomach of birds eat from the surface is more than that one fed on fish inside the water (Blight and Burger; Provencher et al. as cited in Sigler,2014). Ryan study has provided that ingested plastics might macerate food consumption, growth rate, and fitness of seabirds (Ryan as cited in Sigler,2014). In eastern North Pacific, 70.5 percent from 353 of ingested items in 11 species of seabirds is broken pieces of plastics that everyday use (Blight and Burger as cited in Sigler, 2014). Also, there are studies on fish that damaged from plastic. A research of Davison and Asch estimate that the number of plastics consumed by fish is about in range from12,000 to 24,000 ton every year. However, there are factors like fish species, location, and accumulation of plastics may influence the results among studies. As mention by Boerger and others, the color of most plastic pieces found in fish is clear, blue, or white same as the primary food source of fish which is plankton (Boerger as cited in Sigler, 2014). There is probability to transfer absorbed pollutants of plastic consumed by fish to predators by the food chain (Dau; Teuten et al. as cited in Sigkler, 2014). Additionally, sea turtles stress and non-natural death may a result from tar and ingested plastic which assert from a result of Numerous autopsies. There is a possibility of sea turtles to ingestion of the bags owing to strongly resemble the shape of Plastic bags and jellyfish, which is the primary food for sea turtles (Mascarenhas et al. as cited in Sigkler, 2014). Plastic still causes internal injuries for turtles although some of them may be capable of passing it through their digestive system. However, there are some studies prove that plastic may the cause of nan- natural death of cetacean by showing examples but that does not mean denying the problem (Sigler, 2014). As a result of entering the plastic into organisms in marine life, the plastic including toxins steps inside the food chain. Consequently, human eat mammals and contaminated fish. Moreover, not only the direct toxicity of plastics such as mercury, lead, and cadmium are dangers for human but some plastics contain Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), which is a toxic carcinogen. childhood developmental issues, immune system problems, birth defects, and cancers are examples of the effect of the toxins in plastic to human (Andrews, 2012). Therefore, organism life including animal and human might be affected by plastic pollution that may appear by single-use plastic bags, computer waste, plastic bottles, nappy, microbeads, fishing line and others.

The one reason for Marine pollution is that using a single-use plastic bag. Propylene, which is a simple chemical component of petroleum, is the basic component of a plastic bag. Using this chemical substance because of the needing of a long time until the decomposing process (Wolchover, 2011). The thickness of the single-use plastic bag that used in stores and grocery is approximately ranging from 0.7 to 1.75 mil (Verghese et al as cited in Wagner, 2017). People prefer to use a plastic bag because of the free and can use it at another time. For instance, customers use 2 percent of a paper bag and 2 percent for reusable one compared with 96 percent of single-use plastic bags at traditional grocery stores (Sapphos as cited in Wagner, 2017). According to Wagner (2017), the USA is consuming 103.465 billion single-use plastic bags in 2014. Plastic Bags is one cause of litter due to the ballooning feature that granting them to have easily become airborne from wind (Wagner and Broaddus as cited in Wagner, 2017). Moreover, Rates of recycling is depressed as mention in the United State Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 (US APA as cited in Wagner, 2017).

One solution of the plastic pollution is reducing single-use plastic bags. Many governments put some policies to control this usage (Xanthos & Tony, 2017). The USA is an example of these countries that trying to manage this problem. Subsequently, there are five methods that local governments make to scale down the utilization of single-use plastic shopping bags: bans, taxes and fees, special design bag, education of customer, and mandated retailoring for recycling (Wagner, 2017). First, using bans in some local governments which are resistant by shoppers when established them then they turn in to less resistant. For instance, San Francisco is the first city in the USA that prohibit single-use bags in large grocery stores in 2007 with some exceptions such as paper bags and reusable one. On the other hand, Seattle in Washington, as another example, put a broader ban to use green or brown tinted for compostable bags in 2017. The second category is to charge a single-use plastic bag in order to modify consumer behavior. These fees will be paid in sale point and covered the different specific cost. To illustrate, San Francisco provides $0.17 for each single-use bag including $0.014 for recycling, $0.008 contamination of compostable, $0.072 collection and disposal, $0.052 cleaning up litter, and $0.024 processing in landfills (Burnett as cited in Wagner, 2017). Third, designing a bag with specific features that might be offered free due to environmental impacts. For instance, washable bags, recycled content for plastic or paper bags, and minimum thickness for a plastic bag. To explain, 2.25 is the defined thickness of plastic bag in California recycling law (Romer and Tammin as cited in Wagner, 2017). Forth approach is consumer education which includes supporting the idea of recycling and source reduction such as using reusable bags. It can be done by local government campaigns, community groups, social messaging, combining thereof, retailers, or visual cues and prompts. It may be possible to obtain focusing on the negative aspects of single-use bags involving reduced consumption, contamination avoidance of bags, and litter prevention. The final way is mandating retailer take-back program as a consequence of recycling. This can be done by offering opportunities for consumers to return single-use plastic bags. For example, California put a policy in 2007 that any grocery stores, which tail at least 10,000 square feet business with pharmacy licensed and annual sales more than $2 million, is required to institute a recycling program carry out plastic bag at each branch.

As cited in (Wagner, 2017), it seems that using the different approach to reduce single-use plastic bags appropriate but it is helpful to study each category in details to show the benefits and drawbacks. For putting the policy of ban using these bags, it cloud be efficient and easy to apply yet its exclude consumer choice. Also, there will be increasing in the non-banned bag except if there is a fee on it. There is a probability of increasing purchases of plastic garbage bags. There is still lacking the environmental outcomes of research related to bans of single-use plastic bags although there is some sited highlight the reduction (Block; Welsh Government; Clean Up Australia; Smithers as cited in Xanthos & Tony, 2017). In taxes and fees category, Wagner (2017) argues that it could be reducing litter, reusing fosters, keeping customer choice, and using fees by retailers as compensating to the anti-litter program. Although, there is an increasing cost for both consumer, regulators, and retailers. It could be in the case that specified bag design can increase recycling and decrease upstream impacts of the environment while its difficult in enforcing. In addition, it is cost effective for retailers owing to designing a bag with special characteristics. It is often that consumer education has some benefits such as no cost and restrictions on consumers. Nevertheless, it could be difficult to implement an effect on recycling or consumption. For mandated retailer take-back program, it may depend on a voluntary act to return bags of consumer and there is no cost to them. However, there is a need for containers as long as to be easy in enforcing. Also, there is a possibility of increasing the cost to retailers and consuming bags because of an effect of ethical licensing. Xanthos and Walker evaluate that bans in North America which is applied inconsistently lead to some judgments especially 2011to share coastlines and watersheds (Xanthos & Tony, 2017).

Using technology more gives rise to more devices produced that may one result of non-usable equipment. The number of computer sales approximately 353 million in 2011 at the global level and 84 million in 2005 in Eastern Europe as an example (Hameed, 2012). Every year a huge amount of waste devices that contains carcinogenic and toxic compounds discard in a litter may pose a risk to the environment. In 2014, about 41.8 million tons of waste computers in the UK and could be reached 50 million by 2018 as confirms in Baler research (Bales as cited Kohl & Gomes, 2018). Hameed recaps the factors that may cause the increasing number of computers in the world such as procurement habit and electronic fast changes. The former influenced by social manifestation, announcements, and advisements rather than actual needs. While the latter affect the customer to periodically purchasing a new product. In addition, People in developing and poor countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America will suffer more in the future since the industrial and developing countries export the electronic waste to them rather than treatment in their countries (Hameed, 2012). Both Kohl and Gomes in their study (Kohl & Gomes, 2018) and Suresh with others research (Suresh, et al., 2018) explore that there is a high percentage of plastic in a computer which is about 21 percent on average in a personal computer (PC) and 40 percent in lab tops. Using plastic in manufacturing computers because of the chemical, physical, and mechanical excellent properties (Suresh, et al., 2018). There is need for discussing studies, statics, and reports published by a different organization, agencies, or researchers in order to estimate the electronic and electrical waste problem (Hameed, 2012). Therefore, studying the effects of these waste to the environment due to finding best, long-term, fast solutions. In other words, a great hidden disaster which can pollute soil, air, and water may appear in future because of the lack of the true way to deal with computer waste (Hameed, 2012).

Computers, which contains diverse and complex materials, need to recycling due to a huge amount of computer waste that may cause radiation of toxic gases. Directive WEEE (Tsiarta, et al., 2015), which is Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, become European law in February 2003. It divided into different responsibilities for a designer, distributors, and consumers. The law of Packaging that must be recyclable, biodegradable, and reusable. Distributor and retailer responsibilities include providing disposing old electronic and electrical equipment to the consumer when they sell a new item. Additionally, applying rules even if the sold item has done whether direct, telephone, mail, or internet and telling the customer information about the services that provided such as the way of reusing recycling electronic and electrical equipment. The information can be provided by displaying posters or putting on a website (Anon., 2015). One example of encouraging people to recycle computer component is WEEE man, which is a project made from waste electronic and electrical equipment and displaying in Eden in the UK (Anon., 2008). It is important to define physical and chemical characterization as a consequence of knowing the components of waste and defining the strategies of recycling (Kohl & Gomes, 2018).

By focusing on recycling computer waste, Suresh and others supervise the deeper impediment of computer waste. The one cause of heterogeneous plastic nature could be complicated by recycling it more than other metals. Furthermore, there is some process of removing labels and coating of polymeric products, which is computer components like Central processing unit (CPU), keyboards, mouse, computer stands, and electrical cables, before recycling mechanical properties when introduction these materials during recycling. There is an ability to hazardous the environment if there is no commitment on plastic properties for recycling method. There is increasing recycling cost may be due to different and hard process of recycling especially when it is for an energy source (Suresh, et al., 2018). Hameed (2012) predicts that the electronic waste recycling treatments may lead to some diseases to people who work in recycling due to the manual work on extracting the metals and improper treatment of recycling. On the other hand, the different recycling procedures such as mechanical one could be present different new plastic products that may have good quality. In addition, a conversation about plastic waste to fuels, monomers, gases, or other hydrocarbons might one result of chemical recycling known as feedstock. When plastic cannot be recycled, thermal recycling may do by recover energy for instance stem, heat, or electricity from waste plastic components (Suresh, et al., 2018). To illustrate, 70 percent represent recycling plastic materials for CPU waste (Kohl & Gomes, 2018).

To sum up, plastic pollution is a huge problem occur in different things using by humans such as single-use plastic bags and computer wastes. There are some researches trying to find effective solutions to these problems. The USA as an example of the country that put some rules to using single-use a plastic bag. It categorized the rules to bans, an imposition of fees and taxes, establishing minimum product design of bags, requiring consumer education, and mandating retailer take-back programs. It seems that a good solution because it covers many aspects yet still has some negative side that may solve in the future. Another solution is recycling computer waste components as done in the UK. It may be possible to fix the problem still many waste electronic components affect the environment. There is many biodiversity impacted by plastic such as sea turtles, cetacean, birds, and fishes. Not only these organisms affected by plastic but also organisms include human influenced. One of the responsibilities of people to insurance healthy life for the new generation. It is time to thinking about plastic before use.

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