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Unanticipated Consequences of Inventing Plastic - Case Study Example

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This case study "Unanticipated Consequences of Inventing Plastic" focuses on plastic marine debris is one of the main types of marine debris in the world today. Scientists continue to research and reveal more about the influence of plastic marine debris on water and aquatic animals…
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Unanticipated Consequences of Inventing Plastic
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Download file to see previous pages The influences of plastic marine debris on the environment constitute some of the unanticipated consequences of inventing plastic. NOAA runs a project to follow up surface waters and beaches in the process of checking all types of debris on the water. Plans are underway to include the monitoring of the water column, seafloor, and sediments.
The biggest question surrounds plastic debris pieces at the beach. It is important for scientists to use laboratory methods to count small pieces of plastics of less than five millimeters referred to as microplastics. Courtesy of the scientists from the University of Washington, Tacoma, a method of quantifying microplastics using weight is in use. The method also applies to quantify plastics used for personal care products. They include among other products scrubs using abrasives and facial cleaners.
Plastics eventually degrade into small pieces. The lower temperatures in the water mean that the process of degradation takes longer compared to the process of land. Various features have an important role in determining the rate of degradation. The factors include environmental conditions, molecular weight, chemical composition, and additives among many other factors. Mineralization is the process of full degradation into water, carbon dioxide, as well as inorganic molecules. However, research reveals that plastics do not mineralize in water namely in streams, oceans, and seas. On the contrary, they break down in smaller pieces.
Bio-based plastics exist in both development and the market2. They are wheat, corn, algae, and tapioca. They use renewable carbon sources as opposed to the plastics that source carbon fossil fuels applied traditionally. However, bio-based plastics have similar features to other plastics in terms of polymer behavior. They do not undergo degradation in any different way. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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