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 *****Reply to each post Min 100 words each***** 1. In choosing Topic 2: Solutions to Plastic Pollution, I think a viable solution that is currently seeing relative growth

*****Reply to each post Min 100 words each*****

1. In choosing Topic 2: Solutions to Plastic Pollution, I think a viable solution that is currently seeing relative growth and successful results, is replacing as many plastic containers as possible (especially single-use) with plant-based compostable alternatives as provided by companies such as UrthPact.

Even with all my good environmental choices, I am dependent on so many plastic materials for so many things.

In reviewing the pros, it seems a no-brainer that replacing the growing amount of trash in most countries from something with virtually no end to its life, with something that will efficiently and effectively break down in a natural way into the soil is a good decision. I think it would also need to be investigated how these “earth-friendly” containers are being created, and what resources are being used. As with the launch of the combustion engine, people thought it great that cars could replace horses. Now we are trying to find ways to replace cars.

The two big cons related to using new biodegradable materials is cost and scalability.  As with most products, if the price point can keep getting closer to that of currently used plastics, the companies that make the plastics can keep up with the demand, and the consumer doesn’t notice a negative impact, the disruption is bound to take place.  Until then it will continue to be very challenging. Especially when looking at companies as large as Coca-Cola. Companies of this size don’t just flip a switch and change their entire bottling, supplier, and logistics channels.  I’m guessing it is probably painful and considering the primary consumer of products like 2-liters of coke (I’m guessing) are lower-income, price is everything.

2.  Most marine debris (80%) comes from trash and debris in urban runoff such as litter, trash from commercial and industrial facilities as well as construction sites, and trash blown out of garbage containers, trucks, and landfills. The other 20% comes from ocean-based sources, such as, overboard discharges from ships and discarded fishing gear. I learned discarded fishing gear is a big problem. Food containers and packaging are the largest component of the municipal solid waste stream together with plastic bags, also represent the largest component of marine debris. Tash can be carried to the ocean in rivers, or when it’s swept away from the beach. It can also be dumped from offshore platforms, despite the fact that this has been banned since 1988. But that’s not all.

What specifically are the effects of plastic pollution on these resources?

Marine Mammals:

The world’s largest predator – the sperm whale, was killed by plastic. Cause of death? An inflammation of its abdominal tissues caused by the presence of nearly 30 kilograms of indigestible plastic. Among the items recovered in its gut were shopping bags, fishing nets and a jerry can. Globally, 100,000 marine mammals die every year as a result of plastic pollution. This includes whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions. There are two principle ways that encountering marine debris can be fatal for these creatures: ingestion (eating) or entanglement in plastic-based fishing gear. The other way that plastic pollution effects ocean mammals is through entanglement, and one of the worst offenders here is abandoned fishing gear. When plastic is left to float in the ocean it continues its deadly purpose, ensnaring unwary marine creatures who venture too close. Like humans, marine mammals can’t breathe underwater, and the most common way that entanglement kills is through drowning.

The results from recovered ghost nets are devastating, and show that it isn’t only mammals that are at risk. Here are the combined contents of two ghost nets taken from the waters around the Tiwi Islands and Darwin respectively:

  • Three skeletons believed to be dolphins.
  • Three dolphinfish (mahi-mahi).
  • Two turtles.
  • Nine blacktip reef sharks.
  • Numerous reef fish.

3.  What do you see as the cause for plastic pollution? 
The cause that I see for plastic pollution is that people go to beaches with either grocery bags with their snacks in them and the grocery bags end up flying away and they just brush it off by saying that eh it’s okay someone else will get it but logically the only thing that will be getting it is a sea turtle thinking it is a jellyfish which will then cause it to die from eating it.

What specifically are the effects of plastic pollution on these resources?

The effects that plastic pollution has on fish. After doing some research on the effects plastic has on fish is that it builds up in there GI tracts and causes physical problems. It also leaches chemical contaminants into fish and their environment. Also, if you have ever eaten fish there was a chance that you have consumed plastic as well.

How significant of an issue is plastic pollution? Did your opinion change after researching the topic?

Plastic Pollution is very big issue for our marine life because they are being effected very badly because they do not know any better and will eat anything that looks like food to them. My opinion did not change after researching the topic. I have known that the plastic pollution in the ocean is bad.

4.  I have decided to discuss the solutions I have to help decrease plastic pollution in the ocean for this forum. One way I would help reduce plastic pollution is to do what some cities across America are doing and banning certain plastic products. For Example, I live in Northern Virginia and in D.C. plastic straws are banned and not allowed in the city, therefore, restaurants and businesses provide paper straws as an alternative. While this is a small step I would go further and ban all plastic products whether that’s plastic cups, plates and/or bags I will make sure they are not allowed to be bought or sold. It is 2020 and we are slowly destroying our planet there is no reason why we can not use paper products to replace the plastic ones.

While littering is bad in general at least paper products are biodegradable and do not have the horrendous effects that plastic products have on our environment. I would also increase the offense of someone littering and make it a fine no less than 10% of the person’s income. This may seem like a heavy fine for littering but it should put fear into people into not littering. The pros to these suggestions are obvious such as a cleaner environment and protecting wildlife and our planet. Some cons would be how inconvenient it is to use paper products rather than plastic and resources needed to stop the use of plastic production. What are some solutions you all have to help prevent plastic pollution?

5.  What do you see at the cause for plastic pollution?

People are the cause of plastic pollution. Plastic was created by people and is used by people. Then it gets thrown away by the people who use it and it gets taken to landfills. From there and from other “disposal” processes like littering, the plastic makes its way into the ocean and other water sources.

What Specifically are the effects of plastic pollution on – Water quality.

Plastic can harm the ecosystem of the ocean in many ways. One is the physical presence causing havoc on wildlife trapped and injured due to the difficulties in breaking free from strong materials found in plastics. A large amount of sea life cannot sustain very well on the accumulation of plastics because some micro fibers in plastics can injure the digestive systems, organs and reproductive systems. Depending on the plastic, some can reduce the oxygen in the water and in extreme cases block the sun from entering the surface of the water, The overall biological effects are probably unknown as more research will be needed. More and more fish that are harvested in the US are showing high signs of microplastics that are passed on to humans.

How significant of an issue is plastic pollution? Did your opinion change after researching the topic? 

Plastic pollution is a very significant issue. It affects a lot of different animals, including humans when it gets into certain water sources. My opinion did not change. This is not the first time that I have had to research this topic. Besides, without actual research stuff about plastic pollution is everywhere to begin with. Tv shows, newspapers, online news articles, commercials and other things.

6.  Topic 2: Solutions to the Issue of Plastic Pollution There are many small ways you can have a big impact.

What do you see as a viable solution for the issue of plastic pollution?

What are the pros and cons of the solution you chose?

Plastic is everywhere. We eat and drink from it, make clothes from it and we even purchase products wrapped in it. Generally speaking, plastic is known to be synthetic organic polymer that is formed  from petroleum. As such, it has been researched that, over “ 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year for use in a wide variety of applications” ( Marine Plastic Pollution, 2017). As such, plastic pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes massively to climate change.

Plastic waste in the ocean is not a minor problem. Henceforth, granted  that Plastic Pollution impacts food safety and quality, solutions to preventing plastic pollution is both cost-effective and better for the environment. (Marine Plastic Pollution, 2017). In terms of what I see as a viable solution for the issue of plastic pollution consists of, recycling efforts being increased and, decreasing the use of plastic in various operations. Additionally, it is vital for people to think reusable. I say this because,

Humanity needs to stop  using single-use plastics items such as straws or plastic drink cups. Furthermore, I know that it may not linger much to many people but, cooking at home is definitely another way we as humanity, can help the solutions of plastic pollution. Case in point: All of us are guilty of wanting to go out to a restaurant to eat. I strongly believe that making our own home cooked meals does not involve takeout containers or doggy bags.

Moreover, with everything humanity does, we must initially take baby steps and evaluate the pros and cons of anything we do. Therefore, in terms of plastic pollution solutions, a Pro is the fact that, plastic can aid in  minimizing food waste, keep food hygienic and safe, keep medical instruments and items sterile and safe. Moreover, a Con about plastic pollution is, some plastic contains harmful chemicals fillers and additives. In fact, since plastic has a low melting point, plastic that are utilized in cooking utensils are highly flammable and most definitely dangerous.

7.  I chose Topic 2 : Solutions to the issue of plastic pollution.

What do you see as a viable solution for the issue of plastic pollution?

There are many ways we can reduce the issue of plastic pollution. We can start by stop using disposable plastic such as plastic wrap, straws, and coffee cups. We can also help by stop buying water, I saw a study that showed each year close to 20 billions plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. Carrying a reusable bottle would eliminate the amount of plastic bottles being thrown away. Overall, we should definitely recycle more.

What are the pros and cons of the solution you chose?

I honestly do not see any cons for the solutions that I chose. I am pretty sure the people who sells the bottled waters would disagree due to people deciding not to buy there products anymore. Another possible con could be that recycling can lead to pollution. Also, recycling can be costly. Some materials cost more to recycle than others and that is why most governments choose not to recycle plastic or glass. The pros of my solutions would be that the less plastic we use, it will keep as much plastic as possible out of the waste stream. It would eliminate the plastics from the ocean and prevent them from getting there. Also by recycling it is an environmental benefit. It reduces the waste that goes to polluting landfills and reduces the need to devote land and resources to traditional waste disposal methods.