The Plastisphere Environment Essay

The Plastisphere Environment Essay

Length: 1115 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

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Have you ever tripped on a discarded and worn-out Happy Meal toy while walking along the beach shore? Has it ever dawned on you that this piece of garbage can be a habitat for different microbes that have created their own community? For the past 60 years, humans have been unconsciously creating a new ecosystem in the oceans. This ecosystem is made up of different things—from toys and shoes to orange juice containers and toothpaste tubes. Labeled as the plastisphere, scientists are now concerned about this new ecosystem’s environmental impact not only to marine animals, but also to humans.
The Plastisphere
Around the world, about 245 million tons of plastic is produced yearly. This figure represents a whopping 70 pounds of plastic thrown annually for each of the 7.1 billion people on the planet. The sad news is that of these 245 million tons of plastic per year, around 4.7 million tons of plastic garbage gathers in vast floating oval-shaped ocean garbage patches.
Although we already know that pollution destroys the ecosystem, humans have little idea of how it can also create an ecosystem of its own. These billions of tiny pieces of garbage that float in different bodies of water are exactly like an ecosystem, which humans have unwittingly made by using and throwing away too much plastic. As a result, insects and microbes that might have no business thriving in the middle of the ocean have suddenly found a new home amidst all that drifting plastic. This is now called the “plastisphere.”
A plastisphere is created when debris and garbage are washed into the ocean. This debris will be broken down into bits that are then colonized by microscopic organisms. Once trapped, the plastic particles will remain in the middle of the ocean for c...


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...through the fish's guts. The revelation of this information could help other scientists have a better understanding of the potential threat these harmful bacteria pose and the role that this new ecosystem plays in the larger ocean ecosystem, including its potential to change the nutrients contained in the water.
As the studies detailing this new ecosystem are still in their infancy, it is difficult for people to speculate about the potential effects of the emerging plastisphere on marine ecological environments. Although we are seeing bad effects of this new ecosystem among larger marine animals, scientists who are studying this new ecosystem hypothesize that the plastisphere brings new opportunity to thriving smaller organisms. Whatever the case is, further studies are still essential to better understand the life created in a barge of plastic garbage in the ocean.

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