JUL 03, 2018 12:48 PM PDT

The (Plastic) Elephant in The Room

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Once considered the crown jewel of industrial evolution, the prevalence of plastics has been slowly becoming one of the biggest environmental disasters aside from global climate change. 

Since its first introduction, thousands of millions of metric ton of plastics have been produced. With only 9% of all has been recycled and 12% burned in the incinerators as household garbage, 80% of used plastics ended in the landfill or the natural environment, such as the sea. It was estimated that about 8 million tons of plastic leak into the ocean annually. As a result, many marine life-forms were trapped, suffocated and sickened. 

What's worse is the harm of plastic wastes that we cannot see. Microplastics are polymer particles that are less than 5 mm in diameter.  They could be directly from manufacturing or through the breakdown of larger plastic debris. With estimated 51 trillion microplastic particles flushed into the ocean, no wonder scientists have discovered them in many organisms in the food chain. Chemicals such as polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) and bisphenol A (BPA) that leach from plastic waste have been shown to disrupt the hormone system.

Experts cautioned that the proper solution to the plastics, rather than a simple ban, would be a comprehensive and systematic approach, which would require global and continuous input and improvement. 

Source: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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