Garbage Pollution of the Sea and Beaches

Beaches, a popular summer destination for many families, and home to many aquatic land animals are under threat by man-made creations. These man-made creations are known to many, they reside in our houses, one might be using them as one reads this paper, the culprit, plastic. This problem is nothing new at all – since the 1950s there has been a record amount of plastic in the oceans. A study done in 1957 showed that a scientific gear used to measure plankton in the North Atlantic Ocean had been clogged 669 times by plastic trash (Rice, 2019).

Every year the amount of plastic entanglement has increased and in the year 2000, there have been ten times more plastic since the 1950s (Rice, 2019). Questions arise such as what is the main source of the plastic that is being thrown into the oceans? According to the journal Science (2018), a 2015 study concluded that the main source of this plastic trash is Asian countries including China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand (as cited in, USA Today).

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Though the study also concluded that not only are Asian countries a part of this catastrophe, the United States of America contributes as much as 242 million pounds of plastic trash to the ocean (Rice, 2018).

Plastic production has been increasing since the 1990s, and it does not seem it will stop anytime soon. The use of plastic is causing severe negative repercussions on the global environment. It is estimated that 4.8-12.7 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, pollute beaches, and kill wildlife in the process (Natural History Museum).

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Many private companies and teams have been helping to clean the ocean of plastic. However, the plastic that is removed is being used to produce even more plastic. The damage done to the environment might be irreversible in the next decade, however, there might be a solution. Pyrolysis is a way of chemically decomposing matter at a high temperature. This process can help chemically decompose plastic to the point where it will become a mixture of crude oil and petroleum that can be easily separated. Due to the world’s dependence on these fossil fuels, these resources are depleting, but with the help of pyrolysis, it is possible to not only help the environment but also help the economy.

The process of pyrolysis is not unheard of, however, the idea of turning plastic to oil is uncommon, which makes the possibility of using this solution difficult. This is due to one of many obstacles, which is getting the public informed, not only about pyrolysis but also about the major effects plastic has placed on the environment. Doing so will generate a push for the production of plastic to oil which in turn will allow the idea to spread, therefore reducing plastic in many areas around the country will help the economy and the environment instride. As ground oil levels diminish, opening a chemical plant that actively converts plastic into petroleum will help reduce plastic in the ocean, save wildlife, and provide an alternative source of energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

One of the biggest bodies of water is the Atlantic Ocean, spanning up to forty-one point one million miles squared, holding up to four currents, and housing five-thousand known species(National Ocean Service). The Atlantic Ocean also happens to have one of the most contaminated places on this planet; “As four major currents in the North Atlantic Ocean between Virginia and Cuba push rubbish through the sea, it gets absorbed into a giant marine trash island we now call the North Atlantic Garbage Patch.” (Mordy, 2013). This garbage patch is one of many and is considered a small part of a big problem. With ten percent of plastic ending up in the ocean, it may not seem like a big problem, however, when ten percent is roughly is twenty billion pounds of plastic, it shows how grave the situation is (Mordy, 2013).

Other than the fact that there are plastic pollutants within the Atlantic Ocean, there are other zones in which plastic pollutants group together to form Garbage Patches shown in Figure 1 (as cited in Popular Mechanics ). The North Atlantic garbage patch, an area were man-made debris float towards and within the North Atlantic Gyre and was first documented in the year 1972 (Carpentar, 1972). According to the Sea Education Association, a 22-year research study showed that the North Atlantic garbage patch is estimated to be hundreds of kilometers across in size, with the density being over 200,000 pieces of debris per square kilometer (Sea Education Association, 2009). Most of the plastic garbage that accumulates within the North Atlantic garbage patch comes from human waste that travels from rivers into the ocean and consists of microplastics as well. As the trash reaches the ocean, it centralizes into the gyres, which collect the trash in large masses. The microplastics that do end up in the garbage patch float away due to the low mass appeal and end up in the diets of wildlife and humans as well (Royte, 2018). These microplastics include polyethylene and polypropylene, which are both non-biodegradable materials that make up our household items (Orcutt, 2010).

The damage has been done to the Atlantic Ocean, now the next step is to prevent more new plastic trash entering the ocean, as well as cleaning up the plastic trash that already resides in the depths of the ocean. Very little effort has been made to advertise the clean up of the North Atlantic garbage patch. The efforts that have been made to clean up the microplastics are argued against,

Cleaning up what is out there is really not feasible, and would likely cause as much harm as good because of all the other small creatures in the ocean that would get filtered out too,’ said Law. ‘So what’s left is hoping that nature break this plastic down over hundreds of years or millennia.’Ultimately, we need to prevent adding to what is out there,’”

(as cited in Mcnally, 2010)

Although, that cannot be the answer to this problem, there are tons and tons of plastic trash that needs to be removed from the Atlantic ocean, and having this mentality is not proactive anywhere. As creatures of this earth, we must treat the North Atlantic garbage patch like the Greater Pacific garbage patch. Two known organizations that have stepped up are for the Great Pacific garbage patch is The Garbage Patch at UNESCO and The Ocean Cleanup. Maria Cristina Finnuci, an artist, founded The Garbage Patch State at UNESCO Paris on April 11th, 2013 in the presence of Director-General Irina Bokova. The Garbage Patch State became federally recognized and was the first series of events that helped start an exhibit of art across the world that brought attention to the severity of the garbage patches (Ansa, 2014). The next organization that is helping bring awareness is to the garbage path is The Ocean Cleanup. Founded by a Dutch inventor, Boyan Slat, their goal is to develop advanced technology to rid the oceans of the plastic trash. The non-profit organization starts off with cleaning up the Great Pacific garbage patch first before moving to the other four patches around the globe. Other than cleaning the ocean from microplastics, they are also trying to develop technologies to remove larger plastics from rivers before they enter the ocean.

The oceans are home to much marine wildlife, and the issue at hand gets more troublesome. The impact of plastic pollution on marine wildlife has never been so severe as of this moment. Without a doubt, if people’s homes, lives, and families were threatened by an unknown source they would want to leave the area as fast as we can. That same situation is happening to the moving marine wildlife. According to Pewtrusts (2018), a gray whale was found dead near Seattle in the year 2010 with more than 20 plastic bags, a golf ball, and other plastic trash in its stomach. Another example is a harbor seal pup that was found dead on the Scottish Island of Skye, where it’s intestine was blocked by a small piece of the plastic wrapper (as cited in Reddy).

According to the United Nations, 800 species worldwide are affected by debris, and about 80 percent of the debris is plastic (as cited in, PEW, 2018). Many of the marine wildlife that ingest the plastic debris include fish, seabirds, and sea turtles.. A recent study has shown that sea turtles are the most affected, after starving themselves when they have consumed plastic believing that they are full. Turtles have been so affected that on some beaches the plastic pollution is affecting the reproduction rate by the altering of the temperature of the sand (Reddy, 2018). Part of the problem is that humans are not immune to the troubles that humans have caused. Although we can differentiate what is food and what is plastic, our fish do not do so, thus when we eat seafood we may ingest small particles of plastic as well.

While plastic is damaging and unhelpful to the environment, it is also important to know that with the help of pyrolysis scientists can regenerate plastic into crude oil. Crude oil includes; oil, petroleum, coal, natural gas, and more. Crude oil is being used so much that it can’t keep up with the demand of the product, because of this prices for oil and gasoline have increased.

Why is Oil important to the economy? Oil and Gasoline are often grouped together and when the price of either of these substances increases, because of inflation or to stop economic growth, it affects the micro economy such as households and businesses. Households as more of the family budget is going into oil and gas. Businesses that require oil and gas like airlines, and shipping companies would also suffer from this increase. While the micro economy is affected the macroeconomy is left dependent on the idea of supply and demand. Because consumers will only spend on items requiring crude oil if they truly need it when the price rises. However, this doesn’t completely stop or slow down the production of crude oil. Fossil fuels will make up fifty-nine percent of the world’s energy source by 2040 (Business-Standards, 2015). With pyrolysis the high demand for crude oil can be met and it can be retained by collecting plastics from the ocean, beaches, and landfills oesn’t talk about war it does explain that even in a muslims everyday life they should be aware of how much of their resources they are using.

Plastic production is increasing every year. With the increase in production there is also an increase in waste. The Atlantic ocean is a good example of how the environment can be affected by plastic production as excess plastic that isn’t recycled is thrown into the ocean. Because of this many wildlife such as birds, fish, and other sea animals suffer from plastic pollution. Animals don’t know what’s good and what’s not and they tend to ingest plastic thinking it is food. While humans are aware that plastic is not food they end up ingesting plastic particles from the animals they eat. This is why solutions like pyrolysis should be implemented. Pyrolysis is a way of chemically decomposing matter at a high temperature. With this system, scientists can make plastic into crude oil which in turn helps the economy, as it proves to be statistically useful to investors, families, and businesses. Overall pyrolysis has great effects on the environment and the economy, as it proves to be statistically useful to investors, families, and businesses.

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Garbage Pollution of the Sea and Beaches. (2022, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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