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THE WASTEBASKET OF THE WORLD
Plastic: Pieces of the Problem
From toys to instruments and gadgets of high technology, plastic is an everyday part of our lives many times per day for several reasons. However, scientists are finding that even when we discard of plastic it is leaving many pieces of itself behind.
CHEMICALS ON and IN PLASTIC:
Chemicals which are added to plastics for our everyday use have been found to have harmful effects on our health. While many are having their summer fun on the beaches and on their own personal boats and yachts, often times, we use the oceans waters as a big wastebasket. The problem is, sea life consumes our easily strewn litter, causing them injury to their internal organs, poisoning and many times, death. And even after death and the decomposing of their bodies, the plastic which they have consumed remains intact.
A percentage of the worlds production of oil, as well as other chemicals are used to allow plastics to be shaped and made pliable for use (such as a plastic mattress cover). One such chemical of concern is bisphenol A (BPA): used in the lining of our can goods and other uses, it can leak into the contents of these containers of which we drink and eat. Another is phthalates: which allows polyvinyl to become pliable. The decision is split concerning phtalates, as some say it does no harm to humans, others say that it does. It has been in use for about fifty years.
Besides giving an ugly, cluttered look to our land, killing wild/sea life, using our natural resources for some uses of plastic (like grocery/garbage bags); plastics are also non-biodegradable. As a result, as stated above, wild/sea life consume it, die, and even after their bodies have decomposed, the plastic is still intact and can remain so one-thousand or more years.
THE GARBAGE PATCH:
It is in the center of several currents creating circular motions of all man-made plastic items we have 'thrown away' and they wash up on our far away seas and local beaches. The sea is becoming more full of these plastics and other debris as plastic only breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. The belief is that the garbage is not only in the Pacific Ocean, it is also in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as on the coast of Japan. Research is being done to clean up these garbage patches. One possibility to help clean up this mess is to utilize the waste materials by converting them into diesel fuel. The amount of plastic and other debris in the patch is increasing at higher rates.
More research is continuing to see the effects of items eaten from the garbage patch by wild/sea life. Also, research is continuing on what can be done to clear up this problem in our oceans which is as long as from California to Japan (some areas are more heavily cluttered than others). Going 'green' is a good start, and yet we have a long way to go.
For more information about going green go to: www.thegreenguide.com
For information about recycling plastic go to: www.earth911.org