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How serious is the danger of plastics to the ocean?

According to reports, the British government had promised during the campaign that "our generation should be a precedent and the environment should be better than before." British Environmental Secretary Michael Goff explained how the British government can fulfill this commitment. Focus on disposable plastics. At the same time, Goff is also actively encouraging retailers to reduce the amount of plastic used to make it easier to recycle packaging materials.




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However, due to the overemphasis on the weight of recyclables, local governments in the UK have tried to collect more low-value but heavy wastes (such as grass clippings) to improve the reported recycling levels. Therefore, the British Minister of the Environment, Mr. Goff, hopes to promote waste recycling, such as focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by measuring the environmental impact of recycled materials and their own use value. This will greatly facilitate the recovery of aluminum and plastics, as this will consume less energy and fossil fuels than the original materials.

Following the UK government's 25-year Environmental Improvement Plan, a waste and resource strategy will announce specific environmental improvement measures by the end of 2017. Goff said he hopes to reduce the total use of disposable plastics and is considering using a plastic beverage bottle deposit system.

The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is also thinking about how to encourage the authorities to adopt the same standards possible to reduce the hassle of recycling people. Because local governments and waste recycling companies have different contracts, the rules are different. In some places, people are required to collect food waste and plastic products, while other regulations do not require such collection. Some regulations require each household to put glass and paper in the same bag, while others insist on separating the two.

Simon Ellin, chief executive of the UK Recycling Chamber of Commerce, which represents the UK's entire waste recycling company, said that Governor Goff should consider banned the production of difficult-to-recycle plastics, such as black plastic food trays, and should be in plastic bottles. The minimum standards for recyclable plastics are specified in the product.

Dominic Hogg, chairman of the Onomia research and advisory body, said that Goff should ban the production of disposable plastic products or tax such products, such as cups, cutlery and straws. Beach garbage accounts for a large proportion.

In addition, President Hogg also suggested setting a limit to reduce domestic waste that cannot be recycled per capita. According to reports, the system has been applied to parts of Belgium and northern Italy.




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How serious is the danger of plastics to the ocean?
Pollution eventually or back to us

A few days ago, according to the BBC, the United Nations has issued a warning that millions of tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year and are causing "irreversible losses." Marine life is facing a huge threat. Lisa Svensson, the UN's director of oceans, said: "This is a global crisis and we are destroying the marine ecosystem."

Why are there plastic contamination problems?

As far as we know, plastic was not widely used until six or seventy years ago, but it immediately changed everything from clothing, cooking, catering to product design, engineering and retail. There are many different types of plastics. One of their greatest strengths is the long design life. Almost all plastic products now exist in some form.

In July of this year, Dr. Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his colleagues published a paper in the journal Science Progress, which calculates the human production to date. The total quantity of plastics is 8.3 billion tons. About 6.3 billion tons of this is now plastic waste, and 79% of these plastic waste is filled into landfills or in the natural environment. This huge waste is driven by modern life. In modern life, plastics are made into many "disposable" items, from beverage bottles and diapers to cutlery and cotton swabs.

Four billion plastic bottles

Beverage bottles are one of the most common plastic wastes. In 2016, approximately 480 billion plastic bottles were sold worldwide, reaching 1 million bottles per minute. Among them, 110 billion bottles are produced by the beverage giant Coca-Cola. Many countries are considering measures to reduce plastic bottle consumption. The UK's proposals include a deposit return program and the improvement of free drinking water supplies in major cities, including London.

In 2016, approximately 480 billion plastic bottles were sold worldwide, with an average of 1 million bottles per minute and 20,000 bottles per second. But less than 50% of the plastic bottles were recycled and only 7% were re-formed into plastic bottles.

How much plastic waste eventually flows into the sea?

About 10 million tons of plastic disappear in the ocean every year. In 2010, scientists from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the University of Georgia estimated that this number was 8 million tons and is expected to increase to 9.1 million tons by 2015. In 2015, the same study published in the journal Science examined 192 coastal countries dealing with marine plastic waste, showing that Asian countries accounted for 13 of the 20 largest plastic waste emitters.





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Asia's marine plastic waste ranks first in the world

Both China and the United States are big plastic waste manufacturing countries with a high per capita waste rate. Plastic waste accumulates in the ocean, and the wind forms a swirling gyre that can suck in any floating debris. There are currently five circulations around the world, the most famous of which is the North Pacific circulation. It is estimated that the debris will take about six years from the US coast to the North Pacific circulation center, and it will take about one year from Japan.

How long does it take for marine plastic waste to degrade?

The concentration of plastic waste in all five major circulations is higher than the rest of the ocean. They consist of tiny pieces of plastic that appear to be suspended below the surface of the sea, a phenomenon known as "plastic soup." The wear quality of most plastics means that many plastic items can take hundreds of years to degrade. However, the cleanup of the North Pacific circulation has begun, and the initiative led by the non-profit organization Ocean Cleanup will begin in 2018.

Given the wear quality of most plastics, they can take hundreds of years to degrade.