Plastic Pollution

Another extreme problem with the need for urgent action!

Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution, I bet you saw more than enough pictures of it lately. Therefore, you probably already have a basic idea of it. Nevertheless, do you have enough knowledge of it yet? Are you able to reply to the following questions? If not, do not worry! This website will try to find the best resolution, there is.
We all saw the pictures of plastics in the ocean; however, what is the big deal? I mean sure it doesn’t look nice, but how does it exactly influence the environment? What does it mean for humans? And most importantly, what can we do about it? Why are we using plastics, if they are bad for us? Why are they bad for us?¬† Like always in need to answer these questions, we need to be more comfortable while talking about this topic and improve our understanding of the topic. Henceforth, we need to be able to tell, what is plastic pollution?

Definition:

“Accumulation in the environment of man-made plastic products to the point where they create problems for wildlife and their habitats as well as for human populations.”

-Britannica

So far, we know that something manmade is gathering somewhere and that creates a problem. Though, in order to fully understand the above-stated definition, we first have to understand, what plastics are and what the definition of a problem is.

Plastics

Definition:

“A synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as (…), that can be moulded into shape while soft, and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form.”

Oxford dictionary

Sidenotes: Organic polymers are of high molecular weight, but relatively light. They consist of mostly the same repeated links. Unfortunately, most manmade organic polymers (, or plastics) are very much non-biodegradable. As a result of just the last 100years, the organisms that are biodegrading haven’t been able to find a successful strategy to decompose these enormous amounts of plastic that fast. Normally, it can take millions of years to develop such a strategy efficiently. At least that is how it is in general.

Problem

Definition:

“A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.”

Oxford dictionary

Sidenotes: Important here is that the matter is unwelcome or harmful. Very significant is that the matter has a need to be dealt with. Meaning that we have to act to overcome it; thereby, emphasizing that it will not solve itself.

Summary: Now we have cleared what plastics and problem mean, so what does it say when plastics are accumulating as it says in the definition of plastic pollution. As we can recognize now, plastic is nearly impossible to biodegrade. Further, it can not be solved without action, as it will still be around for the next thousand years. On top of that, synthetic organic polymers are still being produced, so they are steadily getting more. Let recap, plastics are gathering somewhere in the environment, where they are getting more and more and it has a need to be dealt with, as the plastics are potentially harmful. How exactly are they harmful? We will give an answer to that in the chapter consequences.