Impact Of Plastic Debris Essay

Question:

Discuss about the the Impact of Plastic Debris on the Marine Ecosystem.

Answer:

Introduction:

The aim of the assignment is to study the impact of plastic debris on the marine ecosystem. The study is based on three literary sources. The first source is the video titled ‘Plastic Paradise’ by media journalist Angela Sun, which speaks about the Midway Inlands in the Pacific Ocean and the devastating level of plastic debris, which collect on and around its shores. The second literary case is an article published in the English newspaper the Daily Mail by Liberatore which speaks about the immense quantities of plastics which reach the ocean along the biggest rivers in the world (dailymail.co.uk, 2017). The book by Charles W. Hill mentions current events like globalisation and international trade. An analysis of these three cases shows that though they look unrelated, they are heavily related to each other. It is this relatedness between these three literary sources, which make it important to combine them to realise the full meaning and benefit from them. Sun in her article speaks about the devastating impact plastic debris has on the marine ecosystem. She states that birds, fishes and other marine mammals due to suffocation and poisoning by the plastic. These have devastating impact on the industries like fishing and restaurant, which obtain raw materials from these marine animals. The plastic break down into minute pieces, which are embedded into the bodies of the marine animals, and finally the human beings who eat these animals. Moreover, the nets of nylon destroy coral reefs, which form sources of food for the ecosystem and medicines for fatal diseases like cancer (Holm, Eriksson & Johanson, 2015). The minute pieces of plastic enter human bodies and causes hormonal imbalances, brain damage and finally death. It is thus huge scale of pollution by plastic and its devastating impacts on all living things including man make the matter through the literary sources important to study (Arora et al., 2017). Thus, the impact of this large-scale pollution due to plastic and plastic nets is poisoning of the coral reefs. Fishes that in turn get the minute plastic pieces in their bodies consume the poisonous corals. These minute pieces enter the human bodies when they these fishes. The plastic damages the physiological systems in the body leading towards death. Thus, the impact of the plastic pollution in the oceans is nemesis for all the living creatures on earth including man (Padhy & Mishra, 2015).

An analysis of the video by Sun and the article by Liberatore shows that a major portion of debris is composed of bottles, air condition parts, boxes and other packages. It can be pointed out that this immense amount of packages belongs to goods produced by the FMCG companies all round the world. The consumers of the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) consume the products and dump their plastic packages into rivers. These excessive applications of plastic in the FMCG goods have made the FMCG industry to the target industry for the study on impact of plastic on the oceans (Zheng, 2013).

Current events:

The current events mentioned of the three literary sources consists of a video available Youtube called ‘Plastic Paradise’, a newspaper article from the international English language daily, the Daily Mail on river pollution caused due to plastic and a book. The name of the book is ‘International Business’ by Charles W. Hill, University of Washington. The sections that follow would analyse and discuss the similarities and differences between the book, the video and the newspaper article.

Differences and similarities between the three literary sources:

There are several similarities and differences between the three literary sources the author has chosen namely, the video, the newspaper article and the book. The following two sections would analyse these differences and similarities:

Differences between the three literary sources:

The first difference between the Youtube video, the Daily Mail article and the book is their area of coverage. The video titled ‘Plastic Paradise’ deals with dumping plastic in the oceans and how the ocean currents go in circular forms washing these plastic dump up to the shores of surrounding landmasses both large continents and small islands. The video concentrates more on the Pacific Ocean and the Midway Islands in it, which has earned the name ‘Plastic Island’ owing to tonnes of plastic debris, which the currents wash up the island’s shores (youtube.com, 2017). The article in the Daily Mail speaks about the herculean scale of river pollution in the main rivers across the world due to plastic dumps. The article, unlike the video concentrates mainly on the ten main rivers on earth like Yang Tze and the Ganges, which add ninety percent of the ocean’s plastic content. The book does not speak about pollution due to plastic in water bodies, instead speaks about globalisation, economic development and religions (Hill, 2017).

The second point of difference between the three literary sources lie in their treatment of the topics they explain. The video speaks about the dangerous effect plastic is having on the environment, oceans and the living things. The video spans across diverse topics like plastic production, use of plastic, its impact on the marine creature, how it enters the food chains and finally how it devastates the bodies of living organisms. The video clearly shows how presence of plastics in the fishes and marine creatures harm the industries like restaurant industries around the world to which these creatures function as raw materials. It, in other words shows how irresponsible profit making propensity of one industry namely the gas and chemical industries making plastics prove harmful for other industries namely, the restaurant and the fishing industry in the long run. The book treats diverse range of topics namely globalisation, international trade and marketing. The book does not speak about pollution but globalisation, which is one of the leading causes of pollution (Hill, Jones & Schilling, 2014).

Similarities between the literary sources:

The first similarity between the three literary sources is that they speak about pollution. The video shows that multitude of marine pollution in oceans namely the Pacific Ocean due to plastic debris from the economic giants Asia and North America. The video also attribute the inflow of plastic articles like bottles, cans and packages mostly from the fast moving consumer goods to the ships and boats voyaging the oceans (Jambeck et al., 2015).

The newspaper articles too point out to the multitude of pollution due to plastic in the rivers and ultimately to the seas and oceans. Thus, it can be analysed that the newspaper indirectly speaks about the enormous amount of plastic items, which find ways into the oceans. The article in fact, concludes with the mention of the Midway Islands in the Pacific Ocean, the main feature the video. This shows that the article from the Daily Mail and the video actually point at the same point which is, impact of plastic debris on marine environment and consequently to all living things on earth including man (?trach & Wiesinger, 2015).


The book speaks about topics like globalisation and market entry strategies. One can point out that globalisation has led to rapid industrialisation which in turn leads to generate unimaginable amount of sewage. It can be pointed that industries like FMCG have entered virtually every economy and cater to the global consumer base. These industries use enormous amount of plastic for packing and packaging their products. Thus, globalisation and expansion of industries like FMCG has led to outflow of enormous amount of plastic into the rivers and finally the oceans. Thus, the book indirectly speaks about pollution of water bodies like rivers and oceans (Srinivasan & Lu, 2014).

The second similarity between the video, article and the book is that they speak about management of resources in sustainable ways. The video shows that irresponsible actions of the plastic companies producing plastic goods, FMCG companies who use it to package and pack their products and the consumers who use both the items devastate the biomes on the earth, slowly and gradually. It states that the minute pieces of plastic gradually enter the food chains when fishes and marine creatures eat them which either causes their death or makes them unfit for human consumption. This deteriorating quality of the fishes is raking havoc on the industries like restaurant, marine food, fishing and tourism. Thus, in other words, industries are able to affect each other through their actions (Padhy & Mishra, 2015). The newspaper speaks about how these industries dump plastic, which flows out into the oceans. An analysis of the article clearly point out how lack of sustainable sewage disposable methods in the factories situated on the rivers ultimately lead to ocean pollution. For example, the plastic sewage of the Ganges ultimately pollutes the Indian Ocean and the plastic discharge of the Yang Tze pollutes the Pacific waters. The book also speaks about human resources, globalisation and international trade, all of which promote responsible operation of companies in crucial areas like sustainability (Eriksen et al., 2013).

Political orientation behind the perspective of the materials originator:

There are no clear political intentions, which made the authors of the video, newspaper article or the book, which motivated them to form these three literary sources. It is maker of the video have similar inclination. Their inclination was to create awareness about the devastating effect plastic has on the marine life and consequently on the entire ecosystem. The inclination of Charles W. L. Hill to write the book is to educate the readers, chiefly the university students on globalisation and related topics like international trade. The author of the newspaper article by Stacy Liberatore does not bear any political inclination since the author apparently has no political background. The main narrator of the video ‘Plastic Paradise-the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, Angela Sun, is a media journalist. The video apparently does not show any intention to politicise pollution. Thus, it can be summarised from the discussion that the authors of the literary sources namely, the British daily, the video and the book have no political orientation (Vegter et al., 2014).


The authors of the newspaper article, video and the book are Stacy Liberatore, Angela Sun and Hill respectively. They apparently have no political orientation behind writing or making these videos and articles. First, the author of the newspaper article, Liberatore is apparently a homemaker who works as a freelancer and lives in America. She in the article in the English daily expresses serious concern about the devastating impact plastic debris is having on the rivers. She pointed out that the rivers in the world like the Ganges of India and the Yang Tze of China with largest discharge of water carry with them millions of tonnes of plastic debris into the ocean they flow. She concluded the article by mentioning the Midway Islands, which has earned the name ‘Plastic Island’ wing to the immense amount of plastic debris the Pacific Ocean has washed up its shores (Sirirat, 2017). The main narrator of the video Angella Sun is a media journalist who apparently does not showcase any kind of political orientation. She introduces several environmentalists like Charles Moore and Dr Susan Freinkal in her video, which shows her intention of gaining strong participation of the environmentalists. The video clearly shows her strong intention of creating awareness in the society regarding the fatal impacts of presence of plastics in the marine ecosystem and gradually into the global food chainb (Eriksen et al., 2014). Charles W. L. Hill is an academic expert and world famous professor having experiences of teaching in some of the most reputed universities in the United States. After conducting an analysis of the backgrounds of the three authors, one can arrive at the decision that they have no political intention.

Development of awareness and knowledge about the video, article and book:

The cases presented in the article by Liberatore, the video by Sun and the book by Hill help in development of awareness and knowledge in the society. These literary sources complement each other and strengthen each other’s messages. Liberatore in the article published in the English daily spoke about the dangerous level of plastic effluents the major rivers carry to the oceans (dailymail.co.uk, 2017). Sun in her video clearly shows that harm plastic debris can do to marine life. She clearly points out the danger plastic debris pose to the ecosystem of the oceans and the world as whole. Hill in the book spoke one of the most spectacular current events which has escalated the level of pollution by infinite levels, globalisation. Hill, in his book deals in concepts like globalisation and international trade. It can be pointed out that globalisation and uncontrolled international trade are the reasons for pollution (Hill, 2017). This discussion shows that the three literary articles complement each other.

Takeaways from the assignment:

An comparison and contrast between the three literary sources namely, the newspaper article, the book and the video provide three ‘assignment take aways’ or lessons about the devastating impact of plastic debris. The following section would discuss the three learnings form the point of view of the FMCG industry:

Plastic debris is harmful to marine life:

The plastic debris float consisting of containers of FMCG products and fishing nets float in the ocean water. The marine animals are trapped in them and are either killed or injured. The macro plastics items like nylon fishing nets destroy coral reefs and disturb the food chain permanently. These big pieces of plastic break into smaller or even invisibly small plastic pieces, which become a part of the body component of the marine animals and ultimately the consumers of them including man (Unnamalai, 2017).

The FMCG companies and the consumers should use and dispose plastic responsibly:

The video by Sun shows that the mass of debris on the Midway Island is composed of bottles, packages and other plastic articles, which the FMCG industry uses to pack and package goods. The industry should use plastic more responsibly by recycling the plastic pieces discarded. They must create awareness among the consumers about the fatal impact of plastic accumulation in the environment. This would result in decrease in the disposal of plastic in the oceans.

Plastic causes harmful impact on the human body:

The book by Hill states that globalisation and foreign trade have resulted in production of goods in large scale, which has in turn multiplied pollution. Sun in her video clearly states that the enormous amount of plastic the industrial sector and the consumers use finds its way in the marine food chain. Liberatore states that the rivers also contribute to the marine pollution. The micro plastic particles enter the bodies of the fishes and the body of men to who consume those fishes. The plastic disrupts the normal working of human body by causing hormonal imbalance and diseases like cancer. Thus, plastic accumulation in the ecosystem can lethal to all living organisms including man (Padhy & Mishra, 2015).

Conclusion:

The discussion above shows how devastating pollution can be to the living world including man. It shows that plastic debris from the industrialised nations, which reach the oceans directly or indirectly along rivers, are capable of devastating marine life. They destroy the marine eco-system, which influence the entire food chain. The microforms of plastic make fishes and marine creatures unfit for use in the restaurants and by domestic consumers. Thus the plastic pollution have gives fatal blows to the industries which depend on marine creatures for raw materials like restaurants and fish export industry. The discussion shows that companies producing and using plastic should dispose plastics more responsibly by treating and recycling them. The consumers must reuse plastic packages and not dispose them into the rivers. This would help in reduction of devastation of marine life by plastic, save the eco system, ensure continuous flow of raw materials to the restaurant industries and ensure sustenance of life on earth.

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