Extremely littered beach in northern Norway. Photo source: bo eide, environmentalists have long denounced plastic as a long-lasting pollutant that does not fully break down, in other terms, not biodegradable. In 2004, a study lead by Dr Richard Thompson at the University of Plymouth, uk, reported finding great amount of plastic particles on beaches and waters in Europe, the Americas, australia, africa and Antarctica. They reported that small plastic pellets called mermaids tears, which are the result of industry and domestic plastic waste, have indeed spread across the worlds seas. Some plastic pellets had fragmented to particles thinner than the diameter of a human hair. But while some cannot be seen, those pieces are still there and are still plastic. They are not absorbed into the natural system, they just float around within it, and ultimately are ingested by marine animals and zooplankton (Plankton that consists of tiny animals, such as rotifers, copepods, and krill, larger animals eggs and larvaes and of microorganisms once classified.
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The United Nations joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine pollution (gesamp estimated that land-based sources account for up to 80 percent of the worlds marine pollution, 60 to 95 percent of the waste being plastics debris. However, most of the littered plastic waste worldwide ultimately master ends up at sea. Swirled by currents, plastic litter accumulates over time at the center of major ocean vortices forming garbage patches,. Larges and masses of ever-accumulating floating debris fields across the seas. The most well known of these garbage patches is the Great North Pacific Garbage patch, discovered and brought to media and public attention in 1997 by captain Charles moore. Yet some others large garbage patches are highly expected to be discovered elsewhere, as well see further. The plastic waste tide we are faced with is not only obvious for us to clearly see washed up on shore or bobbing at sea. Most disconcertingly, the overwhelming amount and mass of marine plastic debris is beyond visual, made of microscopic range fragmented plastic debris that cannot be just scooped out of the ocean. Slow, silent, omnipresent, ever increasing, more toxic than previously thought, the plastic pollutions reality bears sobering consequences, as recently unveiled by the report of Japanese chemist Katsuhiko saido at the 238th National meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in August 2009 and the findings. Both, the reports and expeditions uncovered new evidence of how vast and surprisingly (as it was termed at the acs meeting) toxic the plastic presence in the marine environment.
Midways beaches, covered with large debris and millions of plastic particles in place of the sand, are suffocating, envenomed by the slow plastic poison continuously washing ashore. Then, on shore, the spectacle becomes even more poignant, as thousands of bird corpses rest on these beaches, piles of colorful plastic remaining where there stomachs had been. In some cases, the skeleton had entirely biodegraded; yet the stomach-size plastic piles are still present, intact. Witnesses have watched in horror seabirds choosing plastic pieces, red, pink, brown and blue, because of their similarity to their own food. It is estimated that of the.5 million laysan Albatrosses which inhabit Midway, all of them have plastic in their digestive system; for one third of the chicks, the plastic blockage is deadly, coining Midway atoll as albatross graveyards your by five media artists, led. Albatross, victim of plastic ingestion. From the whale, sea lions, and birds to the microscopic organisms called zooplankton, plastic has been, and is, greatly affecting marine life on shore and off shore. In a 2006 report, Plastic Debris in the worlds Oceans, greenpeace stated that at least 267 different animal species are known to have suffered from entanglement and ingestion of plastic debris. According to the national Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, plastic debris kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually, as well as millions of birds and fishes.
All over the world the statistics are ever growing, staggeringly. Tons of plastic debris (which by definition are waste that can motto vary in size from large containers, fishing nets to microscopic plastic pellets or even particles) is discarded every year, everywhere, polluting lands, rivers, coasts, beaches, and oceans. Published in the journal Science in February 2015, a study conducted by a scientific working group at uc santa barbaras National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (nceas quantified the input of plastic waste from land into the ocean. The results: every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. Its equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. In 2025, the annual input is estimated to be about twice greater, or 10 bags full of plastic per foot of coastline. So the cumulative input for 2025 would be nearly 20 times the 8 million metric tons estimate 100 bags of plastic per foot of coastline in the world! Lying halfway between Asia and North America, north of the hawaiian archipelago, and surrounded by water for thousands of miles on all sides, the midway atoll is about as remote as a place can get. However, midways isolation has not spared it from the great plastic tide either, receiving massive quantities of plastic debris, shot out from the north Pacific circular motion of currents (gyre).
In 2008, our global plastic consumption worldwide has been estimated at 260 million tons, and, according to a 2012 report by Global Industry Analysts, plastic consumption is to reach 297.5 million tons by the end of 2015. Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature. Although inhabited and remote, south Sentinel island is covered with plastic! Plastic pollution and marine debris, south Sentinel Island, bay of Bengal. Photo source: saf — coastal Care. A simple walk on any beach, anywhere, and the plastic waste spectacle is present.
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By claire le guern, last updated in March 2018. Introduction, the world population is living, working, vacationing, increasingly conglomerating along the coasts, and standing on the front row of the greatest, most unprecedented, plastic waste tide ever faced. Washed out on our coasts in obvious and clearly visible form, the plastic pollution spectacle blatantly unveiling on our beaches is only the prelude of the greater story that unfolded further away in the worlds oceans, yet mostly originating from where we stand: the land. For more than 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise. An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years. (See: Worldwatch Institute january 2015 ).
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Companies would be prohibited by the usda and fda to use substances that could be harmful in human consumption. I am very concerned that mis-categorization campaigns such as this pink slime campaign will work cause well-intentioned companies such as bpi to cease innovations for developing better food safety technologies and strategies. Why try to do something better only to get set up as a target? If this does in fact happen, and promising technologies get thwarted, we, the American public, will be the losers. And tragedies like alex will continue to go on and on and. —, stop foodborne Illness is a national non profit, public health organization dedicated to preventing foodborne illness and death from foodborne pathogens by: Advocating for sound public policy, building public awareness. Assisting those impacted by foodborne illness —, while stop foodborne illness does not endorse specific companies or technologies, we applaud those that foster innovation for better processes that lead to safer foods. —, nancy donley is, stop foodborne Illness president and spokeswoman.
That said, one point that needs to be perfectly clear is this: After what I personally experienced watching my son suffer and die, i am very skeptical and cynical about for-profit meat companies and their professed commitment to food safety. Not all companies walk their talk. There has been a lot of misinformation swirling around the Internet and on tv about lean beef trim produced by beef Products, Inc. As I stated earlier, i have othello personally visited their plant and the categorization of calling their product pink slime is completely false and incendiary. Consumers need to understand that this product is meat, period, and that the use of ammonia hydroxide in minute amounts during processing improves the safety of the product and is routinely used throughout the food industry. There are many types of interventions including food-grade antimicrobial sprays which are used on all manner of foods. Some of these things may sound icky and gross, especially when inaccurately portrayed. These interventions are necessary in ridding meat of deadly pathogens and are required to prove they pose no threats to consumers.
support innovations and advances that enhance food safety. After Alexs death, i felt compelled — really more like obligated — to fulfill his wish of helping and protecting other consumers by being his voice and working with federal regulating agencies and with companies to see to it that we did a better job. In the process, i have visited numerous meat and poultry plants, have provided input on public policies and food safety laws, and have served on the national Advisory board for meat and poultry Inspection. One of the many plants i visited was beef Products, Inc. I got to know the owners, Eldon and Regina roth, and was impressed by their complete commitment to the safety and wholesomeness of the meat products they produced. I was also impressed by the food safety culture they instilled throughout their company. We shed tears together over what happened to Alex and realized how we share the common goal of preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens. Ever since that moment, bpi has generously supported stop and has never asked for anything in return.
My brave little boys last words to me before slipping into a coma were, dont cry, mommy as I couldnt stop the yoga tears from silently flowing. His last gesture to his dad was to blow him a kiss. I was with him when he suffered a grand mal seizure and was put on a ventilator. My little boy, my only child, was dead. Alex had wanted to be a paramedic when he grew up so that he could help others — his words. So when he died we hoped to be able to donate his organs so that he could fulfill that wish of helping others, but his organs were unsalvageable because of the damage caused by the. There was no cure for this awful disease then and there still isnt today. Doctors can only hope to support bodily systems until the toxins pass through.
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My only child, Alex, died from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by eating. Coli O157:H7-contaminated ground beef back in 1993 when he was only 6 years old. It was the most horrendous experience possible. His first symptoms were severe abdominal cramping and bowel movements farm that consisted strictly of blood and mucus. Alex suffered terribly as his organs shut down one by one. At one point one of his lungs collapsed, requiring bedside surgery. His brain swelled so horribly that shunts were drilled into his head in an effort to relieve the pressure, but to no avail.