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Earth invites you to "defend the battle" - a century-long battle between humans and plastics

Release time:
2018/06/07 01:01

June 5, World Environment Day. This day is not only an important medium for the United Nations to strengthen the government’s response to environmental issues, but also reflects the people’s awareness and attitude towards environmental issues.




In 2018, the United Nations Environment Agency focused on the issue of disposable plastic pollution for the first time. The theme of the World Environment Day was released on the "Match of War" - because our blue planet is surrounded by plastic. According to the UN Environment Agency, by 2050 there will be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish if no restrictions are imposed.




This is a century battle between humans and plastics. Reduce plastic pollution in a timely manner and don't let the scars on the earth be more shocking.




The "Eighth Continent" on the Pacific Ocean




In March, scientists from the Netherlands Marine Clearing Foundation studied a huge marine plastics accumulation zone between California and Hawaii. This is the Pacific garbage belt that people call the "Eighth Continent." They found that more than 79,000 tons of marine plastic is floating here, which is nearly 16 times higher than previously estimated.


Of these wastes, 99.9% are plastics, and more than three-quarters of all plastics are larger than 5 cm, including hard plastics, plastic sheets, and plastic films. Although plastic particles account for only 8% of the total mass of plastics, they account for 94% of the 1.8 trillion plastics floating in this area.


From the 1970s to 2015, these plastics quickly accumulated. Most of the larger waste has been broken down into small pieces. The team's assessment found that only certain types of waste that are thick enough to keep floating on the surface of the sea, such as common polyethylene and polypropylene, are commonly used for packaging.


The scientists also analyzed multiple aerial images and achieved more accurate counting and measurement of larger wastes - which explains to some extent why the latest estimates are so much higher than previous studies. Moreover, after the East Japan tsunami in 2011, the level of marine plastic pollution in the region is also rising.


Scientists say that it is not yet clear how long the plastics will float in this area.


Temporary "repository" of the Arctic Ocean


Not only in the Pacific, the spread of plastic pollution has gone far beyond imagination. In April 2018, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany confirmed that once pure sea ice was becoming a temporary "repository" for plastic particles.


These sea ice contains a large number of plastic particles (plastics less than 5 mm in diameter) that diffuse into the Arctic Ocean as sea ice moves. An earlier study showed that trillions of plastic particles are present in Arctic sea ice. Each cubic meter of sea ice contains up to 240 plastic particles. This density is approximately the size of Pacific Ocean's floating plastic particles. 2000 times.


The German team analyzed the composition of the plastic particles in the ice core and the drift trajectory of sea ice. It was determined that the sea ice samples originated from the Meiya basin and the Eurasian basin, and the unique composition of the polymer in the ice core was also identified. They believe that the distribution of plastic particles in the middle of the Arctic Ocean is much more complicated than previously thought. What's more, a large number of plastic particles may be released into the ocean due to the melting of sea ice caused by climate change. It is likely that they will spread over the Arctic ocean surface and deep water areas - they will be eaten by filter feeders in the ocean and remain in their bodies. After passing through the food chain.


"Final combat decision," not only on June 5


Humankind has a natural yearning and pursuit for a beautiful environment, but it is our infinite dependence on plastic that has given it every opportunity:


Every year, the consumption of plastic bags in the world is 500 billion;


Every minute, the world sells 1 million plastic bottles;


Only 9% of the world's plastics are recycled, and the remaining 5.5 billion tons are either landfilled or discarded in the natural environment...


The vast majority of plastic packaging will always exist and eventually flow into the ocean. It is easy for these plastics to disappear into the sea and soon fade out of sight. But they are like ghosts and they are bound to humans in various ways. At present, the proportion of plastics and plankton in the sea has reached 1:2. If no action can be taken, plastic in the ocean will exceed fish in 2050. The ocean has produced half of the earth’s oxygen, and destroying the ocean is actually destroying itself.


The theme of this year's Environment Day is "Make a quick decision," but it's not only this day. We should be sorely worried about plastic pollution. The declaration of war on plastic pollution is a century-old battle. Everyone and every day should be prepared.