One day there is a king who is given the gift of a god, if he touches anything then something he touches will turn into gold. The king became arrogant, with his grace, he changed everything around him like turning a tree into gold and even food that touched it into gold. But when he embraced his child, his child turned into gold. The king becomes lonely, starving, and lost. The same thing happened with humans who can change brown sticky goo with magic into the plastic. Cheap, easy to process, and change our world. However, now plastic has spread and even poisoned the environment around us.
What is Plastic?
Plastic is a polymer. The simplest polymer definition is something that consists of many units. Polymers are molecular chains. Each link is usually made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and/or silicon. To make a chain, many links, connected or polymerized together. To make polymers, petroleum and other products heated under controlled conditions and broken down into smaller molecules called monomers. This monomer is a building block for polymers. The combination of different monomers produces plastic resins with different characteristics, such as strength or moldability.
However, plastic-based materials can be made by changing the structure of compounds from polymers, so that they become synthetic polymers. Synthesis polymers have many advantages with short production time, plastics can be produced on a large scale and have very cheap prices, and began the golden era of plastic. Previous Bakelite for mechanical parts.
- Invention of Plastic
Most plastics contain organic polymers. Most of these polymers are formed from chains of carbon atoms, ‘pure’ or also: oxygen, nitrogen, or sulfur. The chain consists of many repeating units, formed from monomers. Each polymer chain will have several thousand repeating units.
- Natural Polymers
Polymers are found in nature. The human body contains many natural polymers, such as proteins and nucleic acids. Cellulose, another natural polymer, is a major structural component of plants. Most natural polymers are condensation polymers, and in their formation from monomers, water is a by-product.
- Synthetic Polymers
Synthetic polymers are man-made polymers derived from petroleum. From a utility point of view, they can be classified into three main categories: thermoplastics, elastomers, and synthetic fibers. They are commonly found in various consumer products such as honey, glue, etc.
How Plastics Used
Despite growing distrust, plastic is very important for modern life. Plastics made it possible to develop computers, cellphones, and most of the advances in modern medicine that saved lives. Light and good for insulation, plastic helps save fossil fuels used in heating and transportation. Perhaps most importantly, cheap plastic increases living standards and makes material abundance more readily available. Without plastic, many items that we take for granted may not be affordable to everyone except the richest Americans. Replacing natural materials with plastic has made many of our possessions cheaper, lighter, safer, and stronger.
Percentage of Plastic Use
Multilayer polymer-based packaging materials are usually used to combine the performance of each different polymer. With this approach, functionality specifically designed from the concept of packaging was created to adequately protect sensitive food products and thus obtain a long shelf life. However, due to poor recycling, most multilayers are usually burned or stockpiled, preventing efforts towards a circular economy and independence of crude oil.
Percentage in The United States
EPA uses resin sales data from the American Chemistry Council to estimate the generation of plastic containers and packaging in 2017. EPA estimates that 14.5 million tons of plastic containers and packaging are produced in 2017, around 5.3 percent of the MSW generation. (Plastic packaging as a category in this analysis does not include plates and one service glass, and garbage bags, both of which are classified as incurable items). EPA also estimates the recycling of plastic products based on data published annually by the American Chemistry Council, as well as additional industry data. The rate of recycling of PET bottles and jars was 29.1 percent in 2017 (860,000 tons). It is estimated that the recycling of natural HDPE bottles (eg, milk and water bottles) is 240,000 tons or 31.2 percent of the generation. Overall, the number of recycled plastic containers and packaging in 2017 was 1.9 million tons or 13 percent of the plastic containers and packaging produced. Besides, around 17 percent of the plastic containers and packaging waste produced were burned with energy recovery, while the rest (69.9 percent) was stockpiled.
Plastic on Earth
Plastic has surpassed most man-made materials and has long been under environmental scrutiny. However, strong global information, especially about the final fate of their lives, is still lacking. By identifying and synthesizing scattered data on the production, use, and management of end-of-life polymers, synthetic fibers, and additives, we present the first global analysis of all the mass-produced plastics that have ever been produced. We estimate that 8300 million metric tons (Mt) as virgin plastic has been produced to date. In 2015, around 6,300 Mt of plastic waste was generated, around 9% of it was recycled, 12% burned, and 79% was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment. If current trends in waste production and management continue, approximately 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment by 2050.
The amount of plastic in the ocean
About 8 million metric tons enter the ocean each year, according to the first global estimate published in today’s first rigorous global estimate. That’s the equivalent of 16 full plastic shopping bags for every meter of the coastline (not including Antarctica). By 2025 we will place enough plastic in the ocean (according to our most conservative estimates) to cover 5% of the entire surface of the earth in the film attached each year. About a third of these are probably from China, and 10% from Indonesia. All but one of the 20 worst actors are developing countries, largely because of a fast-growing economy but a poor waste management system. A sperm whale found dead on Spain’s southern coast was killed by 29 kilograms of plastic in its stomach, authorities said. During an autopsy on marine mammals 10 meters long, experts found plastic bags, pieces of nets and ropes, and jerry cans. The young man’s body was found on a beach in Cabo de Palos in Murcia in February. Other whales have previously been found to be carried on a stomach full of plastic, and a study released in February concluded that small fragments of plastic called “microplastic” pose a “major warning” to whales and sharks.
Small pieces of plastic floating at sea level were first reported in the scientific literature in the early 1970s (Carpenter and Smith 1972; Carpenter et al. 1972), and subsequent publications described studies that identified plastic fragments in birds in the 1960s (Harper and Fowler 1987). It is unclear when the term ‘microplastic’ was first used in connection with marine debris. This was mentioned by Ryan and Moloney (1990) in describing the results of the South African coast survey, and in the shipping reports of the Marine Education Association in the 1990s and by Thompson et al. (2004) explain the distribution of plastic fragments in seawater. No formal definition of size was proposed at the time but generally, the term implied material could only be readily identified with the aid of a microscope. Since then it has become widely used to describe small pieces of plastic in the range of millimeters to sub millimeters, although it has not been formally recognized.
51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean.
Plastic pollution in the ocean is a rapidly developing global environmental problem, with high concentrations (up to 580,000 pieces per km2) and global distribution, driven by exponential increases in production. Seabirds are very susceptible to this type of pollution and are widely observed to swallow floating plastic.
For the first time, plankton was caught on camera chewing small pieces of plastic. Zooplankton usually eats algae that are suspended in water. They create currents with their feet to draw food towards them and have been shown to distinguish between various algal species, using chemicals and touch receptors. However, sometimes they can also consume similar sized pieces of plastic when they eat.
There have been many movements that have been made to reduce pollution caused by plastic, in various parts of the world scattered great people who want to save the world. However, there are still people who lack awareness continue to do destruction. You can save the earth by doing small things like starting to have an awareness of yourself in the environment.