Plastic has been the common materials that is being used on a daily basis. Many objects that made from plastic that can be seen from everyday such as food containers, plastic bag, storage and so many things that even a human being cannot think of it. Plastic’s existence has only just for over a century but because of the versatility of the materials plastics has a significantly increase in their use into all varieties of everyday life. Furthermore, the physical characteristic of plastic itself that are high resistance, durable, cheap and lightweight makes it suitable for production of a wide range of products category (Derraik, 2002).
Basically plastics are synthetic organic polymers that are made from various chemical elements that mostly come from natural resources such as crude oil, gas and coal(Derraik, 2002). The raw materials of plastics were formed from ancient plants and animals hundreds of millions years ago. Therefore those raw materials are non-renewable resources that explained when those resources would not be replaced for a short period of time. As many people use plastic everyday, it will take a more time to break down and as a result the plastic debris litter everywhere and become plastic pollution.
As plastic is buoyant, it easily blows from garbage dumps or even flows through river that eventually moves through the sea. According to Australian Marine Conservation Society (2013b), when plastics are in the ocean, it will slowly breaks down in to smaller pieces and being eaten by animals that live at the bottom or even to the birds that flies and eat the floating plastic debris. Causes: Plastic pollution is the environmental problem that has been the issue that discussed by many people because of many causes occurred because of this problem.
First, many people or even businesses gain profit from using plastics because of its characteristics that is hard to be substituted with other materials. As mentioned before plastic is non-renewable resource and need a long period of time to break down, however people use plastic for mostly everything surrounds them. So it will make availability of the natural resources for raw materials of the plastics decreases significantly and can be resulted a scarcity of resources. Other causes that happened because of plastic pollution is the marine life being threaten of the big amount of plastic that dumps in the ocean.
In fact in Australia, AMCS found that 90% of marine debris on Sydney’s beaches is plastic, mostly bottles and straws. And also it emphasizes that Australians approximately buy 600 millions litres of bottled water a year and uses 10 million of plastic bags a day (2013b). Hence, large amounts of plastic are being produced each day and when it becomes litter, plastic can endanger the health of animals and sea life. Once the plastic debris are eaten, plastics are not provide proportionate nutrition through the ingestion of the plastic inside the animals’ body and will result irritation of stomach that lead to death (Moore, 2008).
High concentration of floating debris in the ocean brings potential threat to the marine life particularly to sea mammals and seabirds. As seabirds seek food from the ocean, when appears floating debris they might eat mistakenly or starvation that lead them to choke plastic and for certain period of time can endanger to the health of the birds (Edyvane K. S, 2004). According to AMCS, there are around one million seabirds and one hundred thousands marine mammals are killed every year because of plastics throughout the world.
They analysed it by checking what inside the animal’s body and found out that, numerous of plastic debris cannot be ingested that killed those unfortunate animals. Furthermore plastic debris such as medical waste, plastic diapers and sanitary waste sometimes also can be seen on the beach that might impact to a public health hazard (Moore, 2008). The reason that plastic debris all over the beaches is because lack of responsibility of visitor to appropriately throw the rubbish to the bin. Many of people think that plastic is easy to be carried but they are not aware about the impact of using plastic too much.
Solutions: There are many potential solutions for the plastic pollution. As plastic is non-renewable resources and damage to the environment during its production and disposal process as well, so the only best way to recover it is reduce the use and the production of plastics. Even though plastics cannot be replaced with any other substitute, however, it is possible to change the raw materials that can be recycled and break down. For instance, many plastic bags for supermarket already change to degradable plastic, which is more environmental friendly.
Another solution that are still being developed for reducing plastic pollution for marine life is Container Deposit Scheme that tackle and help take plastic off the plate for marine life (2013a). As can be seen actually there are a lot of bins provided in every corner of the street in Australia, but it still will not work because sometimes people do not care about to separate their rubbish into recycle or non-recycle. Therefore Container Deposit Scheme will be a non-profit and work independently of the beverage companies.
As many Australian buy innumerable bottles each day, it will increase the price of the drinks by 10 cent and whenever the container is returned to the convenient recycling depot, that amount of money will be refunded. However, if it is not returned, this deposit scheme will continue to recycle and help to clean up the litter including the marine pollution. Stakeholders: Basically, the key stakeholders for this problem to start reducing plastic use, as a human being we should do things differently first. Our attitude to litter rubbish everywhere is should be changed in order to save the environment.
So we should be aware of the impact of plastic use for a long time that can damage animals and also the environment. Australian government has already involved in solving this plastic pollution problem. Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism are the level of government that takes care of this specific problem(2013c). However they also need the involvement of citizen as well because the role of this department is help to give information to the citizen. In Australia, plastic products and packaging are required to marked with plastic identification code that place at the bottom to identify specifically what type of plastic is made from.
So from the code itself, the government purposely encourages people to sort out the plastics materials type accordance to the recycle or non-recycle. In addition to the plastic debris in the ocean, Australian Marine Conservatory Society as the organization that influence by educate the public and equipping groups with suitable knowledge and skills to rescue sick and tangled marine animals because of plastic. They are responsible and have interest on marine life that endangered. Conclusion: As conclusion, plastic is spread all over the place because its physical characteristics that makes everybody tend to use for daily products.
However, plastic is non-renewable resources that harm environment for long period of time. It happens that on the beach, there is incalculable debris that spread all over the location. Hence, this problem can be solved, when people have initiative to change their attitudes towards plastic. They should be able to separate which are recyclable and non-recyclable. So it will reduce the amount of plastic debris and help to maintain the ecosystem in the ocean as well as keep the population of animals that are endangered because of plastic debris.
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