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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

Externalities of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

Gwen Holdgreiwe

April 23, 2009

Environmental Economics 331

ocean facts
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
global pollution
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
cost benefit analysis
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
problems
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

solutions
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
works cited
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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