Discussed different Plastic pollution effects and also know what can we do. It affects the ocean, destroying marine wildlife, modern life, and nature. Plastic, as we know it has only been widely used since Tupperware.
Introduction to Plastic pollution
Maybe you have heard about these things, turtles caught in six-pack rings, garbage patches as large as Texas, and beaches with more plastic debris than sand. After all, millions of tons of this thing end up in our oceans every year. There are some consequences of plastic pollution that might still surprise everyone.
It was invented in the 1940s. But now it is nearly impossible to go a day without it. And as useful as it is, it also causes some serious problems. It is one of the main reasons for water pollution.
For one, this can emit greenhouse gases forever not just during the making and disposing of them. Plastic is basically just a long chain of molecules, and when it’s exposed to sunlight, UV radiation starts to break that chain down into smaller molecules like methane and ethylene, in a process called off-gassing. Both of these are greenhouse gases, but methane is especially bad because it’s 25 times better at trapping heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. And as it breaks down, the problem actually gets worse, not better.
Plastic pollution effects
Researchers have found that, as more surfaces get exposed, there’s a huge increase in the release of gases. As an example, a common plastic called LDPE (Low-density polyethylene) releases methane gas 488 times quicker in a powdered form than in pellet form.
To make matters worse, once this off-gassing process begins, it can continue even without sunlight. That’s because those first broken bonds make the rest of the plastic more brittle, so it more easily breaks down on its own. Over time, it keeps breaking into smaller and smaller, eventually invisible, particles. And as it does, it releases greenhouse gases into the air.
This is not good, that’s not the end of the plastic pollution effects. These indestructible pieces of plastics are also contributing to another modern problem. That is the resistance to antibiotics.
From a study of 2020 in Northern Ireland, scientists collected bacteria from this. They found themselves along the Irish coastline and tried to kill them with 10 commonly used antibiotics, which turned out to be surprisingly hard to do.
98% of the bacteria were resistant to ampicillin, one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for things like sinus and ear infections. And 16% of the bacteria were resistant to minocycline, another type of antibiotic.
This is sorry to say that, plastics are a great breeding ground for bacteria. Because they will grow on any available surface in the ocean. Many antibiotic-resistant bacteria are already out there. This just gives them more places to flourish.
Once again, the problem gets worse as plastics break down because they create even more surface area for bacteria to colonize. And these bacteria don’t just stay way out in the ocean. The same study showed that ocean currents can carry plastic covered in bacteria back into coastal waterways, where different species could ingest them.
Plastic is destroying marine wildlife
Plastic pollution effects are seen in marine wildlife. Whales, sea birds, fish, turtles, Hundreds of species have been eaten or been caught by our discarded plastic.90% of seabirds have eaten by this harmful thing. They are attracted to it because it looks or smells like food to them. Their stomachs fill up and they can eventually starve to death.
Reachersers have said, almost every fulmar has plastic in their stomach. The spectacular ones have so much plastic in their stomachs that they die instantly. All the ones that have small quantities of plastic that don’t kill them straight away but kills them slowly. the sea turtle is also badly affected. At least half have eaten plastic. Marine animals get tangled up in discarded plastic ropes and nets. 308000 dolphins and whales drown every year tangled in fishing gear. This eery phenomenon is called ghost fishing.
A study in 2020 found that bacterial growth on marine plastics actually makes these plastics smell like food to sea turtles. So, animals could be eating plastic. Because these smell good rather than because it looks like food. Which is not great for the sea ecosystem.
Ingesting plastic covered in antibiotic-resistant bacteria could create health problems for marine animals, and also for creatures higher up the food chain, including us. Now, as plastic breaks down, it breaks into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces, and some of the smallest plastics may be capable of doing the most harm.
Any plastic that’s smaller than a few micrometers is called a nanoparticle, and research has found that these microscopic particles can even pass through biological barriers, such as cell membranes. That means they can enter the bloodstream of animals, pass through the gut lining, and penetrate tissues.
Now Plastic pollution is seen in the sea directly. When these are spread in the sea, marine animals are in danger. They can also accumulate in organs like the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Plastic nanoparticles have even been found to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells that filter harmful substances out of the blood so they can’t get into the brain. This seems to be dangerous no matter where you are on the food chain.
In a 2017 study out of Sweden, researchers exposed zooplankton called Daphnia Magna to a bunch of plastic nanoparticles. The Daphnia consumed these particles, and scientists found that, while the larger particles didn’t seem to affect them, the smallest particles —around 50 nanometers—were deadly.
Next, to see the effects of the nanoparticles. These are increasing in the food chain. They figured a group of Daphnia to the plastic nanoparticles again, and then they fed them to some Crucian carp fish. Over the next two months, the carp started to change.
Researchers found that those Daphnia started to swam slower, explored themselves less of their environment, and lost more weight than the control group. When the researchers analyzed their brains, they found the 53-nano meter particles they had fed to the Daphnia— in the fish’s brains. And they think these invisible particles changed the carp’s behavior. These findings show that plastic nanoparticles can move up the food chain— and interfere with the natural function of an ecosystem.
And if we ate fish that had ingested nanoparticles, researchers suggest that could even have a direct impact on us. Plastic is everywhere in every environment on our planet— and it’s not going away anytime soon. In some ways, that’s great, because plastic can be really useful. But unfortunately, it has some impacts that probably no one was thinking about when they invented Tupperware.
Still, the less plastic we use, and the more we understand the consequences, the better we can protect ourselves and our planet’s natural ecosystems.
Before plastic pollution effects increase in our nature we have to take the necessary steps. It is time to stop carrying, transporting, and marketing plastics. There are many alternatives to plastic. But we need to make sure that these are used everywhere. There was a time when people only used jute bags. We need to use jute bags just like before or use something perishable and not harmful to the environment.