Causes and Effects of This Very Serious Issue Plastic is a non-biodegradable product, with the potential to cause great harm to the environment. This article highlights the effects of plastic pollution, while also telling you about the causes of this problem, and some solutions. HelpSaveNature Staff Plastic pollution is defined as the accumulation of the different types of plastic material on land, as well as in water bodies like rivers, oceans, canals, lakes, etc. As a commodity, it is used on a large scale all around the world.
Greg Wiszniewski Marine debris and pollution consisting mostly of plastic trash is accumulating in oceans around the world. From the surface of the ocean, you might not even realize that a vast garbage patch swirls under the water.
With ever-changing content and borders, scientists have difficulty estimating the size of these garbage patches.
The remaining 20 percent of the trash originated from boats and ships on the ocean. Experts estimate that it takes trash approximately six years to leave the coast of North America and end up in the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean.
From Asia, it takes trash only about one year to reach this destination. Because plastic does not decompose, it simply floats in the water, moving along with ocean currents.
Some photodegradation occurs from sunlight, which breaks the plastic up into tiny pieces. Two separate zones of currents move two separate plastic patches in circular motions. Between the patches, a convergence zone moves the plastic back and forth.
Environmental Harm That Has Resulted Animals living in these areas are experiencing significant harm from the plastic.
Sea turtles think that the plastic is jellyfish, and they eat it. Albatrosses think that plastic resin pellets are fish eggs, and they feed them to their babies. Other animals become entangled and trapped in the plastic.
These animals often drown due to the entanglement. Harm to the environment can also occur from the presence of the garbage patch. Because the garbage blocks sunlight, algae is not growing as it should. With less algae, the entire food chain is experiencing a negative disruption.
In addition, the plastics floating in the ocean are leeching harmful chemicals into the water, which are likely entering the food chain. A large number of ships would need to work for an entire year to eliminate only a fraction of the plastic from the water.
Because cleanup is infeasible, experts focus their efforts on prevention of additional accumulation of plastic in the garbage patches. To prevent additional problems, consumers should use biodegradable plastic when they choose to use plastic.Effects of Plastic and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - The effects of plastic can be seen in the large numbers of birds that die from ingesting plastic.
Read about the effects of plastic on the environment.
U.S. and Canada together discard 22 million pounds of plastic into the waters of the Great Lakes each year. Great Lakes consists of microplastics, which are consumed by fish and enter the food chain. Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution.
Plastic shopping bags have heavily contributed to a huge amount of plastic debris found in the North Pacific Ocean. This is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
It is estimated to be double the size of Hawaii, and could even be as large as the entire continental US.
The coastline of Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef, is not short of plastic pollution, with a study finding that each square kilometre of Australia’s sea-surface water is.
Some of the major long-term effects of plastic pollution are: It Upsets the Food Chain Because it comes in sizes large and small, polluting plastics even affect the world’s tiniest organisms such as plankton.