Plastic Pollution in Australian Oceans

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For years plastic has been the common materials being used on a day to day basis. Many objects that are made from plastic can be seen from everyday such as plastic bags, food containers, storage, and a range of other things. Plastic’s existence has only just for over a century but because of the versatility of the materials plastics has a significantly increase in their use into many if not all varieties of everyday life. Additionally, the physical makeup of plastic itself that are cheap, durable, light weight and high resistance makes it suitable for production of an expansive range of products.

Plastics are synthetic organic polymers that are made up from multiple chemical elements that mainly come from natural resources such as coal, crude oil and gas. The raw materials of plastics were formed from ancient animals and plants millions of years ago. These raw materials are non-renewable resources that explained when these resources can not be replaced for a short period of time. Many people in today’s society use plastic every day, it will take a lot more time to decompose and consequently the plastic debris litter goes everywhere and becomes plastic pollution.

As plastic is buoyant, it easily flows through rivers that eventually moves through to the sea or blows from garbage dumps. When plastics are in the ocean, it slowly decomposes into smaller pieces and is then ingested by animals that live on the ocean floor or even birds that fly and eat the floating plastic debris. Plastic pollution is the environmental problem that’s been an issue and has been talked about and discussed by many people because of the multiple causes occurred this has become a problem.

Firstly, many people and even businesses gain profit from using plastic due to its characteristics that is very hard to be substituted with any other materials. As said before plastic is a non-renewable resource and needs a long period of time to fully decompose, however everyone uses plastic for practically everything that surrounds them. Because of this it makes the availability of natural resources for raw materials of plastics drop significantly and will be resulted in a scarcity of resources. Another cause that has happened due to plastic pollution is the marine life being threated of the mass amount of plastic dumps in the ocean.

In Australia 90% of marine debris on the beaches in Sydney is plastic, primarily straws and bottles. This emphasizes that Australians buy approximately 600 million litres of bottled water a year and uses 10 million plastic bags a day. Consequently, mass amounts of plastic are being produced each day and when it comes to litter, plastic can endanger the health of marine life and animals. Once the plastic debris is ingested, plastics are not proportionate nutrition through the ingestion of the plastic inside the animals’ body and will consequently result in irritation of the stomach and eventually kills it.

High concentration of floating debris in the ocean is an additional threat to the sea life, in particular to seabirds and sea mammals. Seabirds seek food provided by the ocean, when the see floating plastic debris they mistakenly eat it or starvation that leads them to choke plastic and this consequently endangers the bird’s health. According to studies there are approximately one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals killed every year due to plastics in the ocean.

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Studies that have been conducted have analysed by checking what’s inside the animal’s body and have found that, numerous of plastic debris can’t be ingested which consequently was the reason for the death of the animals. Additionally plastic debris such as sanitary waste, medical waste and plastic diapers sometimes can also be seen on the beach which ultimately impacts the health of the public. The main reason that there is mass amounts of plastic covering the beaches is because of the lack of responsibility of the public and not throwing their rubbish in the bin. Majority of people believe that plastic is easy to be carried but they are not aware of the impact that using too much plastic has.

There are multiple solutions for the plastic pollution issue. Due to plastic being a non-renewable resource and damaging to the earth’s environment during its production and disposal process as well. The best way to recover and reduce the production and use of plastics. Although we can’t substitute or replace plastic it is possible to change the raw materials being used that can alter plastic in a way it can be broken down and recycled. An example of this is that now there are many plastic bags, so if supermarkets changed their plastic bags to degradable plastic bags it will help keep the environment cleaner and is ultimately more environmentally friendly.

Another solution to help this issue for reducing plastic pollution for sea life is the Container Deposit Scheme that helps tackle and takes plastic off the plate for sea life. As everyone can see there are many bins on the streets in every corner of Australia but this still isn’t enough to get people to throw their plastic out correctly, mainly because people just don’t care about correctly separating their rubbish into recycle and non-recyclable. Therefore the Container Deposit Scheme is non-profit and will work independently of the beverage companies.

Many Australians buy bottles each day, it will increase the price of the drinks by 10 cents and whenever the bottle is returned to the convenient recycling depot, that amount of money is refunded. However, if the bottle is not returned, this deposit scheme still continues to recycle and help cleans up the litter and plastic pollution including the marine pollution. The publics attitude to plastic pollution and litter everywhere is something that needs to be changed in order to save the environment.

We need to be aware of the impact plastic pollution is having on the environment now and what it will look like in the long run. The Australian government has become involved in working towards solving this problem. However, we can’t just leave it all up to the government there has to be active citizen participation in working towards helping our earth become clean again.

However, plastic is a non-renewable resource that harms the environment for an extended period of time. The beaches are covered in mass amounts of plastics, but this problem can be solved. People need to start to take initiative and change their attitudes towards pollution, once this happens, we should start to see dramatic changes to the environment and oceans. We should be able to separate which plastics are recyclable and which are non-recyclable. By doing this it will reduce the amount of plastic debris and help maintain a healthy ecosystem in the oceans as well as keep the population of animals and marine life alive.

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Plastic Pollution in Australian Oceans. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/plastic-pollution-in-australian-oceans/
“Plastic Pollution in Australian Oceans.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/plastic-pollution-in-australian-oceans/
Plastic Pollution in Australian Oceans. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/plastic-pollution-in-australian-oceans/> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Plastic Pollution in Australian Oceans [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/plastic-pollution-in-australian-oceans/
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