Monday, March 12, 2012

Plastic Waste
 Plastic can be a good thing. Plastic is part of our everyday life. Diabetics use plastic for their disposable syringes; arthritis patients use plastic for their hips. Although plastic can help us it has become a huge problem with our world today as waste. With the low cost and ease of manufacture and consumption of plastics it has increased dramatically and led to numerous ecological and economic concerns. When plastic reaches our water it becomes a threat to the animals. In the North Pacific, there is an area the size of Texas, possibly twice the size, called the “trash vortex” which contains plastic materials.

 It is estimated in this area there are six kilos of plastic for every kilo of natural plankton. The trash vortex slowly swirls around, packed with dead fish, marine mammals, and birds. Most of the plastics will not break down in the lifetime that hasn’t even been created yet. There may be a solution for the plastic waste. Yale University's “Rainforest Expedition” is a program that studies rainforest life. Recently, students and professors within the program have discovered a fungus in the Amazon Rainforest that breaks down and utilizes the common plastic. Several of the organisms found, have the ability to degrade plastic in both solid and liquid form. The fungi were also able to degrade the plastic in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. This study is huge in solving our waste problem.

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