Plastic has a lifetime effect on the environment

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Plastic has a lifetime effect on the environment

Plastic waste seen in Sartell High School

Plastic waste seen in Sartell High School

Diego Melendez

Plastic waste seen in Sartell High School

Diego Melendez

Diego Melendez

Plastic waste seen in Sartell High School

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History of Plastic

According to ScienceHistory.org, plastic was developed in 1869 by New York’s John Wesley Hyatt. This means plastic has been around for a while. It was created as a substitute for ivory (the stuff that elephant tusks are made out of). 

WW2 Plastic Helmet Liner

Plastic liners used in World War 2 helmets.

Large Amounts of Plastic Production

Using Our world in Data, plastic has been in production since the 1950s. Since then, plastic production has spiked from 2 million tonnes (metric tons) to 381 million tonnes in 2015. To get a sense of the scale of companies producing plastics Polymer data provides insight on some of the largest manufacturers include Lanxess (a German specialty chemicals company), LG Chem (a Korean chemical company), and Chevron Phillips (a Texan petrochemical company). Most of these companies are worth billions of dollars, and they produce most of the world’s plastics.

plastic production

Plastic production spiking in the past years

Problems caused by Plastic and Plastic waste 

Many problems have arisen from the large amounts of plastic pollution in the ocean. According to Plastic Pollution,  there are large plastic garbage patches in the ocean that are affecting marine life and ports in countries located in the Pacific Ocean. Seafood that people eat might contain plastic from the marine animals consuming plastic from the pollution in the ocean.  And if those aren’t bad enough, EIA.gov tells us that 4-8% of oil is used worldwide in plastic production. Production for plastics includes refining oil to produce the natural gas and feedstocks that are used to make plastics. 

Plastic Waste

Large amounts of plastic waste seen in the Pacific

Changes made to prevent

Countries around the world have started banning and introducing levies to prevent more plastic waste. NPR said countries in the Pacific have taken the initiative of cleaning up the waterways that are affected by plastic pollution to reduce the number of complications brought by the waste. UnEnvironment.org has also provided tons of information relating to changes that are being made to help stop pollution. 

What needs be done to fix the problem

People need to stop plastic at the source, manage plastic waste, use reusable containers or bags.  Other things that can help are asking restaurants to stop using plastic straws and pressuring local authorities to improve how they manage city waste. UnEnvironment.org also includes ideas to fix pollution around the world. 

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