Atmospheric pollution, along with the problem of biodiversity loss and climate instability, has long become one of the three major planetary crises that are interconnected.
General points of the problem
Every year, 11 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans (this is only metric!), and most (about 80%) from land through various water arteries of the planet, which provides a global global scale for the crisis.
In recent years, the leakage of garbage (especially plastic) into aquatic ecosystems has begun to increase rapidly, and according to scientists, this process will double by 2030. And this state of affairs will have the most serious consequences for humanity, and for the global economy, and for such significant points as biodiversity and climate.
All marine life, from plankton to birds and turtles, has long been faced with such serious risks as poisoning, behavioral disorders, starvation.
However, the global cycle guarantees the return of garbage back to humans through the same birds or fish affected by plastic pollution. And in the human body, as plastic particles accumulate, various abnormalities and diseases begin to develop, often leading to death.
Sources of pollution
Since almost two hundred states on the planet have access to the sea, ocean pollution is now taking place at an incredible pace, and the United States and Asian countries (13 states) hold the lead in this matter.
As a rule, plastic waste is concentrated in the ocean, where, under the influence of wind masses, the so-called “plastic soup” is formed, as the funnel formation process is commonly called, where fragments from the surface of the water are sucked into. Scientists know of five such sinkholes, and the most significant of them is located in the Pacific Ocean. However, before getting into such a whirlpool, the garbage reaches its destination from the coast for several years, which also does not contribute to environmental friendliness.
Many scientists are increasingly concerned about the amount of microplastics in the ocean (less than 5 mm in size), because they are more difficult to control than large waste.
Such microplastics are usually divided into several types, depending on the method of formation:
An unlimited amount of waste today is generated primarily due to modern standards of human existence, which involve the use of disposable goods (the same bottles, diapers, dishes and even ear sticks).
Causes of pollution
The main and main source of microplastics is garbage on land, formed as a result of human activity.
Retail trade, tourism, home improvement, food and beverages also contribute a huge share as sources of plastic waste, and packaging materials, as well as industrial products (both household and consumer) can act as a potential source of such waste.
Moreover, the leader in the formation of plastic waste is just packaging and polyethylene products. And the increased level of demand for such disposable products, in turn, has a huge impact on the environment. The processes of destruction of recycled plastic are difficult to control, and the replacement of materials that contain its particles can partially solve this very serious problem.
An equally serious source of plastic are industries directly related to maritime activities: fishing, container shipping (both due to the materials used and due to the loss of cargo): all this replenishes the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans.
The impact of plastic waste on the world’s oceans and the environment manifests itself in a variety of aspects and forms.
One of the global problems is packages and films of plastic, in which the inhabitants of the ocean are often confused, and such statistics have increasing trends.
Another most serious consequence can be considered the direct absorption of microplastics by the inhabitants of the ocean, both fish and birds: this is associated not only with mechanical consumption, but also with the incorporation of microplastic particles (for example, bisphenol A) into food chains.
In addition, the surface of the plastic is capable of carrying a huge number of microorganisms, and becomes a medium for the spread and movement of species to a new environment, t.e. affects the formation of the ecosystem, not to mention pathogens, which not only harm the inhabitants of the ocean, but also serve as a serious problem for humanity.
And the tiny particle size of microplastics can significantly complicate the operation of various filtration systems, and affect wastewater treatment.
The level of pollution of the environment with plastic waste can be corrected, it is only worth paying attention to improving the culture of consumption, for example, replacing plastic products with alternative environmentally friendly ones, especially since modern technology provides such an opportunity.
And at present, science is making serious efforts to solve the increasingly urgent problem of environmental pollution, and not only with plastic.
Today, the world is actively getting on the right track, helping society to realize the need for common efforts to defeat the problem of littering the planet, providing salvation from plastic pollution of the surrounding space, land, the depths of the ocean and all of humanity. It is necessary to cultivate an understanding that the responsibility for pollution lies only with the producer of plastic, but also with its consumer, i.e.e. for every person.
And since the ingress of plastic fragments into the water area is inevitable today, it is necessary to begin the process of eliminating this problem as soon as possible by regulating: