Although, that cannot be the answer to this problem, there are tons and tons of plastic trash that need to be removed from the Atlantic ocean, and having this mentality is not proactive anywhere. As citizens of this earth, we must treat the North Atlantic garbage patch like the Greater Pacific garbage patch. Two known organizations have led the initiative are for the Great Pacific garbage patch is The Garbage Patch at UNESCO and The Ocean Cleanup. Maria Cristina Finnuci, an artist, founded The Garbage Patch State at UNESCO Paris on April 11th, 2013 in the presence of Director-General Irina Bokova.
The Garbage Patch State became federally recognized and was the first series of events that helped start an exhibit of art across the world that brought attention to the severity of the garbage patches (Ansa, 2014). The next organization that is helping bring awareness to the garbage patch is The Ocean Cleanup. Founded by a Dutch inventor, Boyan Slat, their goal is to develop advanced technology to rid the oceans of the plastic trash.
The non-profit organization starts off with cleaning up the Great Pacific garbage patch first before moving to the other two patches known as the Subtropical Convergence Zone and the Western Garbage Patch. Other than cleaning the ocean from microplastics, they are also trying to develop technologies to remove larger plastics from rivers before they enter the ocean(as cited in Christen J., CNN).
The oceans are home to much marine wildlife, and the issue at hand gets more troublesome.
The impact of plastic pollution on marine wildlife has never been so severe as of this moment. Without a doubt, if people’s homes, lives, and families were threatened by an unknown source they would want to leave the area as fast as they could. That same situation is happening to marine wildlife. According to Pewtrusts (2018), a gray whale was found dead near Seattle in the year 2010 with more than 20 plastic bags, a golf ball, and other plastic trash in its stomach. Another example is a harbor seal pup that was found dead on the Scottish Island of Skye, where its intestine was blocked by a small piece of the plastic wrapper (as cited in Reddy, year).
According to the United Nations, 800 species worldwide are affected by debris, and about 80 percent of the debris is plastic (as cited in, PEW, 2018). Many of the marine wildlife that ingest the plastic debris include fish, seabirds, and sea turtles.. A recent study has shown that sea turtles are the most affected, after starving themselves when they have consumed plastic believing that they are full. Turtles have been so affected that on some beaches the plastic pollution is affecting the reproduction rate by the altering of the temperature of the sand (Reddy, 2018). Part of the problem is that humans are not immune to the troubles that humans have caused. Although we can differentiate what is food and what is plastic, our fish do not do so, thus when we eat seafood we may ingest small particles of plastic as well.
Economically speaking, making plastic is more harmful than it is beneficial.
“Plastic costs $13 billion in economic damage to marine ecosystems each year.” (Tetu, 2019)
While plastic is damaging and unhelpful to the environment, it is also important to know that with the help of pyrolysis scientists can regenerate plastic into crude oil. Crude oil includes; oil, petroleum, coal, natural gas, and more. Crude oil is being used so much that it can not keep up with the demand of the product, because of this prices for oil and gasoline have increased (as cited in thebalance.com).
Why is oil important to the economy? Oil and gasoline are often grouped together and when the price of either of these substances increases, because of inflation or to stop economic growth, it affects the micro economy such as households and businesses (as cited in frbsf.org, 2007). Households are affected as more of the family budget is going into oil and gas. Businesses that require oil and gas like airlines, and shipping companies also suffer from this increase. While the micro economy is affected, the macroeconomy is left dependent on the theory of supply and demand. Because, when the price rises, consumers tend to spend on items requiring crude oil if they truly need them. However, this does not completely stop or slow down the production of crude oil. Fossil fuels will make up fifty-nine percent of the world’s energy source by 2040 (Business-Standards, 2015). With pyrolysis, the high demand for crude oil can be met and it can be retained by collecting plastics from the ocean, beaches, and landfills.
Pyrolysis, although expensive can be helpful for the economy, “ …The results indicate that a 54% rate of return on investment (ROI) can be achieved if the plastic is collected, transported, and delivered at the processing site free of charge.” (Gohdart, 2019). ROI, or return on investment is a measurement used to show the efficiency of an investment. Meaning, the bigger the investment, the better outcome it has for the investor.
“The current average annual return from 1923 (the year of the S&P’s inception) through 2016 is 12.25%” (Dave Ramsay, year). This statistic shows that pyrolysis is an incredibly effective and helpful substitute to the standard mining of fossil fuel. Which is a substance that does not replenish itself at a fast enough rate for people to continue to mine the product. Fossil fuels are also unsustainable and lead to the increase of global warming.
Islam has always encouraged Muslims to watch out for the enviornment, and promotes a healthy, natural lifestyle as best suited for everyone and everything. Many Muslims are taught to leave a place they were in, better than how they found it. This includes the environment, “…And do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption” (Qur’an, 2:60). This is to not only to preserve the things that we have but also show gratitude for what we have been given. ( as cited in Preserving the Environment)
This ayah tells everyone to preserve the environment. The respect for the environment in Islam even spreads to strict rules in war, where Muslims are not allowed to cut an excess amount of trees or hunt excess amount animals. In another ayah:
“Eat of its fruit when it yields, and give its due on the day of its harvest, and do not waste. He does not love the wasteful” (Quran 6:141) .
This ayah also refers to a muslim’s everyday life it explains that they should be aware of how much of their resources they are using.
Plastic production is increasing every year. With the increase in production there is also an increase in waste. The Atlantic ocean is a good example of how the environment can be affected by plastic production as excess plastic that is not recycled is thrown into the ocean. Because of this, much wildlife, such as birds, fish, and other sea animals, suffers from plastic pollution. Animals do not know what is good and what is not and they tend to ingest plastic thinking it is food. While humans are aware that plastic is not food, they end up ingesting plastic particles from the animals they eat. This is why solutions like pyrolysis should be implemented. Pyrolysis is a way of chemically decomposing matter at a high temperature. With this system, scientists can make plastic into crude oil which in turn helps the economy, as it proves to be statistically useful to investors, families, and businesses.