Disadvantages Of Microplastics

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Microplastics are plastic particles less than five millimetres in size and account for 92% of plastic particles in the ocean (Detloff & Istel 2016; Shim & Thomposon 2015). There are two types of microplastics: primary and secondary (Shim & Thomposon 2015). Specifically engineered microplastics, such as cosmetic scrubbers, can be directly introduced into the marine environment by discharge after use (Shim & Thomposon 2015). Secondary microplastics are produced through the degradation of macroplastics through UV rays, high temperatures and physical abrasion (Avio, Gorbi & Regoli 2017). Microplastics have been observed on shores, sea surfaces and sea floors, including the Arctic and Antarctic oceans (Obbard et al 2014 as cited in Shim & Thomposon…show more content…
Although this issue appears to be out of control due to our consumerist and wasteful society, management and preventative options have been explored. Marine plastic pollution represents a “fundamental market failure” (Ocean Conservancy as cited in Tibbets 2016, p.93). Prevention needs to begin with a societal shift towards less consumerism and greater reusing and recycling. Continuing, producing companies need to have greater responsibility for plastic and plastic-adjacent waste they create. A fine example of this is Extended Producer Responsibility, a scheme implemented in some European nations (Tibbets 2015). This model shifts the financial responsibly for disposal to product manufacturers, giving them an incentive to improve product packaging, reuse and recycle (Tibbits 2015). Continuing, the solution for managing mismanaged waste is developing infrastructure to correctly dispose of produced waste is proposed, therefore reducing the amount of waste susceptible to ocean entry (Jambeck et al 2015, p. 770). Unfortunately, preventing further degradation from macroplastics into microplastics in the ocean is near impossible. However, eliminating the use of ‘microbeads’ and other primary microplastics should greatly reduce their numbers within the oceans. Iñiguez, Conesa & Fullana (2016) and Li, Tse and Fok (2016)…show more content…
The mass amounts of plastic discarded is the underlying issue within marine plastic pollution. The colossal amounts lead to large amounts of mismanaged waste, and degradation into the dreaded microplastics (Detloff & Istel 2016; Jambeck et al 2015). Once contaminating the sea, detrimental effects on sea creatures occur, while creating sickening ‘marine soup’, and damaging the fragile aquatic ecosystem (Avio, Gorbi & Regoli 2017; Weinstein 2009). Many recommend waste reduction as the most effective means of decreasing plastic pollution due to the sheer volume of plastic produced in the modern world and its global infiltration (ñiguez, Conesa & Fullana 2016). Therefore, education on this issue should be paramount (Avio, Gorbi & Regoli 2017). A common understanding of plastic pollution would lead to a sustainable shift in

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