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Transcript of Plastic Pollution
Plastic in Ecosystems
Naaz H, Jerry B, Anthony L Pragya V, Allison M, Sean R
What is Plastic?
How is Plastic Manufactured?
How is Plastic Used?
Plastic in the Air
Typically human-made synthetic polymers
Made with different densities
Plastic monomers are synthesized to create plastic
is used to create inexpensive plastic products.
is used to create bottles due to its ability to resist moisture.
is used as textile and resistant to solvents (acids and bases).
The formation of a
two functional groups
Different Types of Plastics
Only contain linear carbon chains on their backbone chains.
Contain elements other than hydrocarbons, such as oxygen, sulfur and nitrogen. They may also contain benzene rings.
Plastic Pollution Overview
- Plastic is a necessity of industrialized lifestyle
- Low cost, low weight, and insulating properties
- Reduces food waste, improves transportation efficiency, is required for manufacturing essentials like health care equipment
- Over 300 million tons manufactured annually; only 10% recycled
- Estimated 7 million tons in the oceans per year
- Plastic disposal is biggest problem in plastic usage: visually unappealing and associated with health risks
Solving the Problem
Production and usage of biodegradable plastics
Cost is naturally a concern
Public education and awareness
Detrivores are unable to decompose plastic bonds.
Pacific Garbage Patch
Accumulation of plastic largely due to ocean gyres and the created centripetal force. There are five great garbage patches in total, the Pacific Garbage patch being closest to us.
- Burning halogenated plastics to dispose of them is dangerous
- Harmful dioxins produced; stay in tissues by dissolving in body fat; accumulate up food chain
Biological and Chemical
Physical and Biological
Chemical and Biological
- HCN (Hydrogen Cyanide) is common by-product of heating plastics. HCN shuts down cellular respiration.
C2H4 + O2
CO2 + H20
Combustion of Non-Halogenated Plastics
Combustion of polyethylene is less harmful...
2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD
The most toxic dioxin:
...unless carbon monoxide is produced
Biodegradability of Plastics
Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems
A gyre is caused by intersecting currents amassing into a larger one; these currents are a result of surface winds and earth's rotation moving mass amounts of water in the oceans.
The movement of wastes with the current on the surface of the water body impacts the aquatic lifestyle because 90% of aquatic life lives near the surface.
As the food chain goes up, organisms require more and more energy to supply their needs.
Simulation for Spread of Ocean Plastics
This also increases the intake of plastics in tertiary predators.
Plastic Affecting Animals
Spread of Plastic Pollution
Water current speeds in the North Pacific gyre (containing the great pacific garbage patch) can reach speeds of 1.3 m/s.
At this rate plastic garbage from the coast reaches the patch in about a month.
Most used plastic is sent to landfills or incinerators.
Incinerators spread toxic chemicals from burnt plastic into the air.
The Ocean Cleanup Foundation