Plastic Pollution

2.4.1 In Oceans

 - A Great Concern For Human And Ecological Health -

 

Plastics durability has created problems which are particularly worrisome in marine environments and simultaneously for its inhabitants too. Every year, 8,6 million tons of plastic waste ends up in oceans, seas and lakes and over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the oceans.(34) One source claims that plastic packaging comprises of more than 62% of all items (including non-plastics) collected in international coastal clean-up operations.(35)

 

 

Sea Turtle Entangled  In Plastic Debris

 

As stated is the worrisome fact that fishes might be outweighed by plastic debris in less then 30 years.(36) Plastic litter pose a serious problem where pieces of plastic are being ingested. Research shows that plastic has been found in over 260 different sea creatures; everything from the smallest sandworms to the biggest of mammals and where the plastic can cause digestive blocks and immediate death by entanglement.(37)

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic pollution is massive, global and urgent

 - The European Commission

 

 

 

 

 

There are still numerous uncertainties about what happens to the smallest fragments of plastic, micro plastic, especially in the marine environments, “the amount is too large, and most particles too small, to be able to collect it all.” reports Gianna-Carina Grün from dw.com.(38) According to Andres Cozar Cabañas, lead scientist of the non-profit organisation 5 Gyres and promotor of legislative ban on plastic microbeads in consumer products, told the National Geographic that "We don't know what this plastic is doing… The plastic is somewhere—in the ocean life, in the depths, or broken down into fine particles undetectable by nets.” (39) He continues; “We don’t fully understand the consequences the plastic is having or will have in our oceans,” he said. “What we do know is that these consequences will be felt at a much greater scale in an ecosystem like this” because it is unlike any other on Earth.(40)

 

 

 

A photo collage of plastic fragments found in the Arctic Ocean by the research team.  Credit Andres Cozar

2.4.2 In Soil, Groundwater, Human and Wildlife

 - A Great Concern For Human And Ecological Health -

Another alarming problem is that of the added chemicals in the plastic that enhance desired function and features. Common additives in plastic are for example flame retardants, bisphenols and phthalates, which have been shown in scientific studies and research “to be of critical concern for human health”.(41) Plastics containing such additives have been proven to leak toxins causing “persistent organic pollutions” in ground water and soil.(42) Furthermore, oil-based toxins already released in nature (such as polychlorinated biphenyls, nonylphenyls and derivatives of DDT) act to repel water but attract other oil based materials, such as plastic. This occurrence becomes particularly problematic as it makes plastic debris, particularly in the ocean, a perfect vehicle for other toxins to team up with and accumulate and increase the concentration of toxins.(43) When plastic particles are being ingested these toxins can be absorbed by sea creatures, not only causing damage to the creature itself, but it can also work as en effective route which toxins can enter the food web.(44) Today plastic can been found in the bloodstream and tissue of every human, including newborns.(45)

 

As mentioned almost all plastic draws from fossil feedstock and therefore has it a significant impact on the carbon emission. The New Plastic Economy report (2016) found that “plastics stands for about 6% of global oil consumption, which is equivalent to the oil consumption of the global aviation sector.” They further predict that “If the current strong growth of plastics usage continues as expected, the plastics sector will account for 20% of total oil consumption and 15% of the global annual carbon budget by 2050.”(46)

 

 

 

 

From The New Plastic Economy - Rethinking The Future Of Plastics  Report (2016)

 

 

Deceleration Of Authorship

Thesis

Supervised by Professor Cyrus Khazeli and Ivan Perez

Communication Design, BTK- Berliner Technische Kunsthochscule

Copyright by Marika Berglind- Ekman 2017

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