Plastic pollution affecting life on land and ocean

Plastic pollution affecting life on land and ocean

Siria Diaz

ENG 21003

Prof. B Swett






Plastic pollution affecting life on land and ocean


Plastic is a major problem in the 20th century, causing major pollution issues in the world. Human reliability on plastic from shopping bags, bottled drinks, kitchen and hair supplies, endangers fish, wildlife and threatens human health. The byproduct of fossil fuel release toxins in the environment. The material used for plastic are made up of propylene and ethylene, which come from oil gas and coal. Plastic life span is about one thousand years (1,000) to breakdown. The burning of plastic on the open- air leads to environmental pollution, releasing poisonous chemicals that when inhaled by humans’ and animals causing respiratory problems. In order to better understand this phenomenon some pundits have inquire some questions such as, why plastic has become a major issue in the world? How can we overcome the plastic pollution? what is the government institutions like the Environmental Protection Association (EPA) United Nations Environmental Association (UNEA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) doing about this matter?


The article “Advancing the international regulation of plastic pollution beyond the United Nations Environment Assembly resolution on marine litter and micro plastics” by (Carlini, Giulia and Konstantin Kleine 234) disclose that plastic will be the first thing they will pick up from the ocean 30 years from now, instead of fish. On the other hand, “A Solution to Plastic Pollution? Using international Law to shape Plastic Regulation in the United States” by (Rose, Allyssa 128) supports that since the mid-twentieth century four hundred (400) million tons of plastic are produced every year and only nine (9) percent has been recycled. Correspondingly to this information “New Link in the food chain? Marine Plastic pollution and sea food safety” by ( Seltenrich, Nate A40) article counterpart by declaring that plastic pollution in the ocean has become a significant concern regarding the potential effect not only to aquatic creatures but as well as human health that may be caused by plastics. These environmental issues concern the governments, scientists, nongovernmental organizations and to members worldwide. Uniformly the three articles compliment each other towards the plastic pollution concern.


There is no question that countries across the globe have sought ways to mitigate plastic pollution. For instance, a law passed by Ireland in 2002 by introducing PlasTax, a tax placed on plastic bags that were previously provided for free at retail stores now are ban or taxed. This enactment led to ninety (90) percent reduction of plastic bag consumption (Rose 134). This law served as a model for the United states’ own plastic policies. For example, a plastic bag ban was recently passed in ‘March 1st, 2020 in the state of New York implementing five (5) cents tax per bags’ (Rose 128). According to (Carlini and Kleine 238) the “UNEA-1 resolution on marine plastic debris and micro plastic” not only discuss about the “precautionary approach” but also about the “inter alai.” This is “a ban or radical reduction of single-use plastic items” and about different ways to decrease the use of plastic. The study warns that there is no guarantee of “biodegradable” products to decrease ocean plastic nor the absence of harm from the physical impacts of plastic or release of chemicals affecting water soil and air quality in the environment.


Plastic causes negative effects on pollution and this is vivid by (Rose 128) in the NYC’s sanitation department. Rose explains “New Yorkers throw away over ten thousand (10,000) tons of garbage every day.”  This waste “end up in landfills or become visual pollution stuck on trees, bushes, or littering common spaces.” Consequently, costing the city over twelve million dollars annually to clean up and properly disposing plastic bags. On the other hand, (Seltenrich A37) in 2004 a six years study by the 5 Gyres Institute, estimated that 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing some 269,000 tons are floating on the surface of the sea. Some of these particles are plastics resembling jelly fish as floating food eaten by turtles and other species. Plastic tendency to absorb (take up) persistent, bioaccumulation, and toxins properties which are present in almost all water bodies.” Studies reveals that the constituents of plastic, can travel into the guts and tissues of marine organisms upon consumption” (Seltenrich A35). Plastic evidently has become nearly ubiquitous on the planet and has washed up on the most remote beaches and discovered in dead organisms from fish to birds and whales. In agreement (Carlini and Kleine 234) reveal that the United Nation (UN) in 2017 declare war on ocean plastic, launching a campaign called, ‘#CleanSeas’, “the group of twenty (G20) agreed on the G20 action plan on Marine litter due to the fact that between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic are estimated to contaminate the oceans each year, roughly equivalent to a full garbage truck every minute”. In other words, as the authors explain, if this issue continues unabated, the ocean might, “by weight contain more plastic than fish in 2050” (Carlini and Keline 234).


In conclusion the articles by Carlini and Kleine and Alyssa Rose complement by describing the low recycling rates, pollution and how harmful it is to humans and animals, by spurring countries, cities and communities to act. They suggest that the UNEA, the global community has the possibility to combat plastic pollution by creating a new global framework by developing a comprehensive approach that encompasses not only plastic litter but the whole plastic life cycle. So far about sixty-eight countries have established national legislation to reduce plastic consumption. Eventually catalyzing a reduction of plastic production and consumption would help the environment on the adverse impacts of plastic pollution. In contrast to the plastic actual effects of plastic pollution in the fish and wildlife (Seltenrich A41) positions that more research is needed to clarify if sea food is potentially contaminated. It is said that staff from the EPA and the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service are currently developing a risk assessment to quantify the chemical loading effects of plastic litter and marine life which appear to contribute to persistent, bio accumulative and toxic substances in the guts and tissue of marine organisms and then to human diet.











Work Cited



Advancing the international regulation of plastic pollution beyond the United Nations Environment Assembly resolution on marine litter and micro plastics. 


Academic Journal

By: Carlini, Giulia; Kleine, Konstantin. Review of European Comparative & International Environmental

Law. Nov2018, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p234-244. 11p. DOI: 10.1111/reel.12258.



New link in the food chain? Marine plastic pollution and seafood safety

N Seltenrich – 2015 – environmental Health Perspect 123(2): A34-A41(2015),



A Solution to Plastic Pollution? Using International Law to Shape Plastic Regulation in the United States

A Rose – Hastings Environmental Law Journal, 2020 –