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 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 • 2 Billion ppl. worldwide live w/in 100km of coastlines • Algalita Marine Research Foundation experiment on North Pacific
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 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 • 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 • 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 • 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.