Synthesis Essay about Plastic and Its Harmful Effects

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Executive Summary

This report was commissioned to examine and evaluate a pressing issue known as Plastic Product pollution. This has been administered and accepted by the government of Canada, Organizations such as Walmart, and Markets which are the customers and suppliers. Plastic product pollution is killing the planet and us, slowly but steadily and we are causing our own peril by allowing it to happen, I believe my policy known as the Plastic Product Ban will take down this problem.

Introduction

Plastic product pollution is “the accumulation of plastic objects and particles in the earth’s environment that affect wildlife, wildlife habitats, and humans” (Plastic Pollution, n.d.). There are many different examples of plastics, such as water bottles, plastic containers, plastic wrapping, plastic bags, and straws. The problem with plastic products is that they are created with so many different chemicals and because of that they are resistant to natural ways of degrading. Plastic pollution can cause many health defects such as cancer, immune system suppression, birth defects, and liver dysfunction. Plastic products are being discarded and tossed around carefree, yet people do not know the ramifications they are causing themselves. For example, when a person throws away a plastic wrapper without putting it in the garbage, they may think it is harmless, but it is. That plastic wrapper will circulate around the atmosphere for a thousand years before it actually starts to decompose. Now imagine billions of people doing that same gesture, the plastic will accumulate and go places that it should not even be able to go, and this can endanger wildlife. The stakeholders involved are the consumers, employees, suppliers, and government. The consumer is interested in plastic products because of its service quality and its resourcefulness. Plastic products can help a person carry their objects, preserve their food, and make it easier to perform activities. Plastic products are also inexpensive, meaning that all classes of consumers from poverty to rich are able to acquire them. Plastic products are also durable which allows the consumers to reuse them as many times as they want. The employee is interested in plastic products because they earn an income from manufacturing and producing them, which can give them the money to provide for themselves and their families. The supplier is interested in Plastic products because they sell the goods and rely on its revenue to provide and nourish themselves. The investors are interested in Plastic products because they invest capital into the different companies that manufacture and distribute these entities allowing themselves to gain a certain rate of return back. The government is interested in plastic products because they can put taxes, tariffs, and GDP on the goods and the employees from the organizations that are manufacturing and distributing them so that they can profit from the collections of taxes. In this paper I will discuss in this order; The Executive Summary, Introduction, the issue of the discussion, major sections on how the organization, the markets, and the government can resolve the issue, and then I will outline my policy.

Issue Discussion

Plastic is “a word that originally meant pliable and easily shaped” (The History and Future of Plastics, n.d.). This means that plastic could be morphed, altered, and created into many shapes or sizes. “The first synthetic polymer was invented in 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt, who was inspired by a New York firm’s offer of $10,000 for anyone who could provide a substitute for ivory”. Back then people were killing animals for ivory such as elephants and tortoises. When plastic was discovered it became a major discovery for people around the world. It allowed people to move on from using natural resources like metal or wood and instead create new materials. It was also environmentally friendly back then because people had stopped killing animals for their ivory, horns, and tusks. However, that period did not last as a result of the widespread accumulation of plastic waste. “Plastic debris in the oceans was first observed in the 1960s, a decade in which Americans became increasingly aware of environmental problems” (The History and Future of Plastics, n.d.). When this global phenomenon happened, people started to realize that plastic was not good but actually bad for the environment. People realized that plastic was taking very long to decompose, and they did not know what to do with it, once they were finished using the substance. I believe that John Wesley Hyatt was responsible for causing the issue on the fact that he invented the substance. He may not have thought of it as an environmental health concern in 1869 but it slowly became a problem because of its extremely slow deterioration rate. I believe this issue to be a legal matter because it is endangering the lives of this planet. It's killing wildlife, destroying the environment, ruining the oceans and it’s a health hazard for humans. It has been a moral matter for too long, people do not seem to care, and nothing has been done to significantly decimate the issue but in fact, it has risen on the threat level. By implementing it as a legal matter the United Nations and governments from around the world would ban it completely. The current policies in Canada addressing the issue are, to begin with, “Banning harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act” (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Government of Canada taking action to reduce plastic pollution, 2019). This means that the government of Canada will pass a law that will make single-use plastics prohibited; this does not mean that all types of plastics will be banned. This will stop the production of plastic shopping bags and plastic straws. The Canadian government has also decided to “Invest in new Canadian technologies” (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Government of Canada taking action to reduce plastic pollution, 2019). This means that the Canadian government will start investing money into small businesses in Canada to figure out different ideas that can reduce plastic pollution. The Canadian government has also assured “Mobilizing international support to address plastic pollution” (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Government of Canada taking action to reduce plastic pollution, 2019). This explains that the Canadian government is planning to obliterate plastic pollution at the G7 summit and help the G7 recognize the pollution they are causing to the ocean.

Perspective Discussion

Governments

Governments can do many things to fix the issue known as plastic product pollution. The government regulates the rules and passes new laws to help govern the country. The government has the necessary power to ban plastics. For example, “Visitors will no longer be allowed to carry in single-use plastics into Peru’s 76 natural and cultural protected areas” (BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, A running list of action on plastic pollution, 2019). This means that the government of Peru used its power to ban plastics, and in doing so decreased its plastic waste. “In class, we discussed that government regulation- force business to address public problems”. This means that if we force businesses to address the plastic pollution crisis, they would not have a reason to hide the issue but instead engage the public in ways to spread awareness. The pros of this solution would be that the people who walk in or know these businesses would not be oblivious to the problem but rather pass on the information. The cons of this solution are that the businesses will still sell plastic and some people will not pay attention. Another solution that the governments can implement to stop plastic pollution, is raising taxes on plastic products to an exceedingly high rate, doing so will make people less likely to buy these items. The pros to this solution are that people would not bother buying the plastic item, because it's more expensive and instead seek alternatives to supplement for them. A con to this solution is that the organizations that are producing the plastic products realize that if people are not buying their items they will lower the prices. “In class, we discussed how governments can change consumer behaviour” By doing this we can educate the people on recycling and why certain plastics are dangerous to human health and the environment. The pros to this solution are that people will become more aware of the side effects of plastics and not choose to use them anymore. The cons of this solution are that citizens may not even take the time to become educated on these important issues or find them appealing to learn. An additional solution, we discussed in class, is that the government should “establish fines to curb environmental impact. For example, if you litter or throw away any forms of plastic you should be fined a big ticket that must be paid immediately. An example would be “in Washington, D.C., as of January 1. By July, businesses in the district will begin receiving fines if they continue to offer plastic straws” (BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, A running list of action on plastic pollution, 2019). This shows that governments have already started giving out penalties for plastic waste and that we should follow. The pros to this solution being enacted are that people will not litter anymore out of fear of being fined. The con of this solution is that people will only get fined if they are caught in the act. My last solution is to use the government to create a law that bans the use of plastics completely, meaning no one will be able to purchase, sell, distribute, or manufacture the substance in Canada. The government has the power to create these laws so I believe they can resolve this issue.

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Markets

Markets(societies) can impact change for plastic pollution in a great way, the reason being that all plastic waste is used from markets. Markets can easily be influenced to put a stop to plastic pollution. Markets use plastics to help with their everyday activities. I believe markets can save the planet by preventing plastic product pollution from damaging it any further. “In the lecture, we discussed societal pressures (activism through social media, hashtags) can affect brand image, loyalty, and customer support”. This can be a solution to stopping plastic pollution because everyone uses social media, especially younger consumers. By establishing an online campaign exposing plastic pollution through activism on all major social media platforms, I believe that people would spread awareness to help stop plastic pollution. For example, “Branded as “No Straw November, the campaign is a push to eliminate single-use plastics” (BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, A running list of action on plastic pollution, 2019). This organization known as the ACP is using this social media campaign to persuade 500 businesses to stop using plastics. Another solution that we can do through social media is allowing celebrities figureheads, and social leaders to advocate how plastic product pollution is killing the planet. Some pros to these solutions are that consumers will acknowledge that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and will pass on or retweet and share the information with their friends and family. The cons of these solutions being implemented is that consumers may just ignore it as something trite and boring to the eye or as fake news. The markets have many stupendous courses of action that help extend the reach of knowledge to consumers of all ages, on how to stop plastic product pollution.

Organizations

Organizations manufacture and distribute plastic products to gain profit regardless of how they affect the environment or society's health. Organizations have the power to stop making plastic products if they want to. In class, we discussed that “Business should no longer focus solely on economic benefit - the external environment (and its stakeholders) is complex, and management should pay attention to ALL stakeholder's needs, not just shareholders”. This means that organizations should not only appease the shareholders but instead, they can do so much more to benefit the environment. There are many solutions that organizations can bring forth to stop Plastic Product pollution. The first solution is to become more resource-efficient; avoid using plastics and instead find alternatives such as cardboard, that can be recycled. If the organization can’t eliminate the waste, they can lessen the number of plastics being used. Another solution an organization can use is to stop doing business with suppliers that manufacture and distribute their goods in plastic. This will minimize the intake of plastics being distributed through your organization and force the supplier to manufacture their goods with reusable, decomposable, or recyclable substances. For example, “Red lobster phasing out Plastic straws” (BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, A running list of action on plastic pollution, 2019). The company says that this new move will benefit in reducing marine plastic pollution, by eliminating the use of plastic straws. Another example is “Alaska and American Airlines moved to ban plastic straws this year” (BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, A running list of action on plastic pollution, 2019). This organization is doing this to prevent plastic pollution from spreading. Organizations can also participate in the collection of plastics or invest in smaller companies to collect and sell them to manufacturers to make new products, even though this is not banning plastic products, it would stop factories from creating new plastic products. An example would be “Circulate Capital hopes to bump their commitments to at least $100 million over the next few years as a move in that direction” (BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, A running list of action on plastic pollution, 2019). This organization is trying to invest enough money into smaller companies so that they can collect plastic waste. By doing these solutions from an organizational perspective, Plastic Product Pollution would decrease.

Based on my perspective of solutions within the perspectives, the one that I will choose is the policy that I created. By using the government to pass a law known as the Plastic Product Ban banning the use of plastics altogether. Many of the solutions I have talked about through these perspectives may work, but my recommended policy will be the solution that revolutionizes the world.

Recommended policy

The policy I will be implementing is the Plastic Product Ban. The purpose of this policy has been established to provide regulations on Plastic products worldwide, by banning the use of these goods indefinitely. Plastic product alternatives may be used such as cardboard and recyclables. Based on my perspectives and my alternative solutions, my overall resolution is that plastic Product pollution will always exist unless it is stopped immediately. Based on my perspective of organizations dealing with the issue, if you implement practices such as reducing the amount of plastic your organization uses, it could help but it won’t affect the people outside your organization. For example, McDonald’s can enforce policies limiting the distribution of plastic, but as soon as the employees leave the organization they will ignore and not apply the same rules to themselves outside of work. Based on my perspective of markets engaging in the termination of plastics, the consumers can stop using plastics and spread the awareness to others, however, the organizations may not follow this movement and eventually continue manufacturing and distributing different types of plastic. Based on my perspective of the government upholding laws against plastic, I believe it will work because society truthfully is scared of going against the law so they will do everything they can to follow. My policy closely relates to the government's perspective on fighting the issue. The intended audience that the policy will address is all the people residing in Canada. The policy can also be applied on a global level if all the governments implement the same policies. The intended outcomes of my policy are to make the earth cleaner, provide alternatives, and diminish the use of plastics. My policy is going to solve this issue rather than the current policies and the alternatives identified because my law that will be passed will be absolute and if the people don’t follow it, they will face jail time ranging from 4-10 years. I believe the organizations will resist my policy because they're accustomed to using plastic as it is cheap and inexpensive. I don’t believe there will be any unintended consequences as a result of my policy being implemented because it will improve the planet and the wildlife that live upon it and also solve problems such as plastic pollution. The municipal government will measure the success of my policy by doing monthly garbage checks all over the country to see if plastics have been used or not. Another way to measure the success of this policy is by doing geographical surveys to see if the policy is actually influencing our intake of plastic products. In conclusion, I strongly believe that my policy will change the world for the better and decrease the effects of pollution.

Bibliography

    1. BRIAN CLARK HOWARD, S. G. (2019, June 10). a running list of actions on plastic pollution. Retrieved from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/
    2. Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Q. (2019, june 10). The government of Canada taking action to reduce plastic pollution. Retrieved from JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/backgrounders/2019/06/10/government-canada-taking-action-reduce-plastic-pollution
    3. plastic pollution. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_pollution#Policy the history and future of plastics. (2019). Retrieved from Science History Institute: https://www.sciencehistory.org/the-history-and-future-of-plastics
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Synthesis Essay about Plastic and Its Harmful Effects. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/synthesis-essay-about-plastic-and-its-harmful-effects/
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