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Externalities of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean. Gwen Holdgreiwe April 23, 2009 Environmental Economics 331. Ocean Facts. Salt water covers 71% of Earth 97% of all water on Earth is salt water contains 80% of all living matter Source of 60 Billion tons of food/year

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Externalities of plastic pollution in the ocean l.jpg

Externalities of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

Gwen Holdgreiwe

April 23, 2009

Environmental Economics 331


Ocean facts l.jpg
Ocean Facts

  • Salt water covers 71% of Earth

  • 97% of all water on Earth is salt water

  • contains 80% of all living matter

  • Source of 60 Billion tons of food/year

  • 2 Billion ppl. worldwide live w/in 100km of coastlines

  • Algalita Marine Research Foundation experiment on North Pacific


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Global Pollution

  • Sources: municipal/industrial runoff or sloppy disposal by traveling ships

  • Fishing vessels toss 340,000 tons of waste into the ocean

  • Navies & Cruise ships dump 1 million pounds / day

  • Increased 10% a year for past 20 years


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Cost-Benefit Analysis

MC

Price

MB

Quantity

  • Costs:

  • Greater threat than oil spills & pesticides

  • 100,000 marine animals die / year

  • Debris on the beaches

  • No organism can biodegrade plastic

  • Deaths of sea turtles & albatross birds

  • Benefits:

  • Cheap cost of disposal

  • Alternative to land pollution

  • Eliminates cost of recycling


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Problems

  • Governments have done little & claim they need to focus on more important issues

  • Underdeveloped countries don’t have funds to enforce stricter anti-pollution laws

*Dead Albatross bird whose lungs & rib cage are entirely filled with trash and plastic waste


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Solutions

  • Some European nations have placed incinerators on their ships to burn all the wastes products

  • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships forbids US dumping w/in 320 km of coasts & none at all in the Gulf of Mexico

  • Chinese cities banned the use of foam lunch boxes

  • Taiwan banned plastic bags and foam containers

  • Total Recycling has developed optical technology to improve the manual sorting of mingled plastics to make recycling more efficient


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Works Cited

  • Anderson, David A. Environmental Economics and Natural Resource Management. Kentucky: Pensive Press, 2006.

  • Hill, Marquita K. Understanding Environmental Pollution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

  • Reed, Lawrence. “Recycling is Often Wasteful.” Garbage and Waste. Ed. Cozic, Charles P. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc., 1997.

  • Samuelson, Paul A. and William D. Nordhaus. Economics. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2005.

  • Starr, Roger. “The Effectiveness of Recycling is Exaggerated.” Garbage and Waste. Ed. Cozic, Charles P. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc., 1997.

  • Steger, Will and Jon Bowermaster. Saving the Earth: A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Action. New York: Byron Preiss Visual Publications Inc., 1990.

  • Steuteville, Robert. “Technology is Improving Plastics Recycling.” Garbage and Waste. Ed. Cozic, Charles P. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc., 1997.

  • Tammemagi, Hans. The Waste Crisis: Landfills, Incinerators, and the Search for a Sustainable Future. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.


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