Plastics and Pollution

The total production of plastic products was at around 275 million tons in 2010. Compared to 1.5 million tons in 1950.  The drastic up rise in plastics manufacturing has caused major pollution concerns. Most plastics are made for a one time use like packaging. Then they end up in landfills and our oceans. They are not made from biodegradable materials and cannot be readily reabsorbed by natural processes. Plastics disintegrate into tiny particles over very long periods of time. Some examples of plastic disintegration rates are: Foam Cups = 50 years, Plastic Bottles = 400 years, Disposable Diapers = 450 years, and Fishing Line = 600 years. The oceans are full of an estimated 269,000 tons of plastic debris. These are consumed by and entangle living organisms and cause massive damage to the ecosystems they come in contact with. Land based pollution causes drainage blockage and is accidentally consumed by nearly every animal on earth. Manufacturing processes also create pollution through emissions of chemicals released into run off water. BPA and PBDE are by products of plastics and are found inside of every human being. These chemicals are known to disrupt natural hormones and Endocrine systems. The best way to prevent continued pollution is to dispose of plastics in the proper manner. By repurposing and recycling plastics we can hopefully prevent more waste build up.