Tuesday November 21, 2017

Humans are Covering Earth with Plastic, says a New Study

Humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since the early 1950s, and most of it now resides in landfills or the natural environment, a study on increasing plastic waste led by UC Santa Barbara has found.

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Plastic waste,
Plastic waste, Pixabay
  • The research provides with the first global analysis of the creation, utilization, and destiny of all plastics made at any point of time, including the manufactured strands
  • They found that worldwide production of plastic by 2015 had reached to 6.3 billion, that is a lot of plastic waste

Washington D.C. (US), July 26, 2017: Plastic waste is a cause of huge concern as it never really goes away. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade like other organic materials such as wood and paper. Due to this, every single piece of plastic ever made is still present today in some form or another. The rate at which plastic waste is increasing with each passing day is alarming. It’s leading to a ‘period of plastic’ and if the contamination level continues to rise, Earth will soon move towards a plastic planet.

People have created more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since the large scale generation of manufactured materials that started in the early 1950s and it’s adequate to cover the whole of Argentina and most of the material now lives in the landfills or in the native habitat.

Such are the discoveries of a new study led by UC Santa Barbara modern environmentalist Roland Geyer. The research provides with the first global analysis of the creation, utilization, and destiny of all plastics made at any point of time, including the manufactured strands.

plastic bottles getting dumped, Pixabay

“We can’t proceed with anything new unless we need a planet that is completely shrouded in plastic,” said lead author Geyer. This paper conveys hard data on not only about how much plastic we’ve generated throughout the years but also its structure and the amount and kind of additives that that plastic contains. Geyer said, “I hope this data will be utilized by policymakers to enhance end-of-life management strategies for plastics.”

Geyer and his group compiled production statistics for resins, fibers, and additives from an assortment of industry sources and integrated them as per sort and consuming sector. They found that worldwide production of plastic resins and fibers saw an expansion of 2 million metric tons in 1950 to more than 400 million metric tons in 2015, exceeding most other man-made materials. Notable exemptions are steel and cement. While these materials are utilized principally for construction, the biggest market for plastics is packaging, which is utilized once and discarded afterward. ”Roughly 50% of all the steel we make goes into construction, so it will have many years of utilization; plastic is the inverse,” Geyer said. “Half of all plastics end up squandering following four or fewer years of use.”

Uninhabited Island in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean have the Highest Amount of Plastic Debris in the World

Also, the pace of plastic production hints at no signs of slowing anytime soon. Out of the total amount of plastic resins and fibers produced from 1950 to 2015, roughly half was created in the last 13 years. Geyer added, “What we are trying to do is to create the foundation for sustainable materials management.”

In simple words, we can’t manage what we don’t measure, and so we think that the policy discussions on it will be more informed and actuality based now that we have these numbers.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

The researchers also found that by 2015, people had produced 6.3 billion plastic waste. Out of which, only 9 % was recycled; 12 % was burned and 79 % gathered in landfills or the natural environment. If the present pattern continues, Geyer noted that about 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or the indigenous habitat by 2050.

“Most plastics don’t biodegrade in a true sense, so the plastic waste humans have produced could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years,” said co-author Jenna Jambeck.

“A Plastic Ocean”: The Film focusses on Plastics in the Oceans that is harming Marine Life

The study stresses upon the need to contemplate on the materials we use and our waste management practices. The investigators rush to alert that they don’t seek to dispose of plastic from the commercial sector but instead advocate a more thorough examination of plastic use.

“There are certain areas where the use of plastic is simply indispensable, such as the medical industry,” said co-author Kara Lavender Law.She added, “I do think we have to take a careful look at our use of plastics and ask ourselves if it makes sense.” The study on concerns of accumulating plastic waste appears in the journal Science Advances.

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Researchers Claim The Existence Of Planet Nine

Researchers from an American University have laid evidences to prove the presence of Planet Nine

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Planet Nine
Kuiper Belt indicates the presence of Planet Nine
  • The science communities since a long time have been debating upon the existence of Planet Nine. 
  • Space highlights different shreds of evidence based on which scientists are stating the claim.

What Is Planet Nine?

Planet Nine is a hypothetical planet present in the far outer Solar System, whose mass is estimated to be 10 times more than the mass of Earth. The planet is said to be 20 times farther than the sun than Neptune is.

What Do Researchers Have To Say?

Dr Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology, said that there were five different lines of observational evidence which pointed to the existence of Planet Nine. He stated that if this theory does not sound believable, then people would have to come up with the answers of the five pieces of evidence which could lead to further confusion.

Also Read: Five Students from Telangana Selected for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge

Batygin in 2016 published a study examining the six known objects in the Kuiper Belt, a  circumstellar disc in the Solar System beyond the planets that extends from the orbit of Neptune towards interstellar space.

The study examines all the objects have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction and are tilted the same way. These serve as evidence to the planet’s existence.

It is being said that the objects are tilted 30 degrees downward compared to the plane where the eight official planets circle the sun. Researchers also made use of computer simulations of the solar system including the Planet Nine and to demonstrate that there should be more objects tilted a whopping 90 degrees to solar plane. It was revealed that five such objects, which fit these parameters were already known.

The study led to the birth of two more ideas. Researchers said that this planet could have tilted the planets of the solar system during the last 4.5 billion years.

Planet Nine’s existence could also tell the reason as to why Kuiper Belt objects orbit in the opposite direction as compared to other things in the solar system.

-Prepared by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.

(the story was originally published in PTI)

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Earth lost 40% mass during formation

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Earth lost 40% mass during formation
Earth lost 40% mass during formation. IANS

London, Sep 28: The violent and chaotic process that led to the formation of Earth resulted in the loss of more than 40 per cent of its mass, says a study.

Analysing a mixture of earth samples and meteorites, the scientists shed new light on the sequence of events that led to the creation of our home planet.

Planets grow by a process of accretion – a gradual accumulation of additional material – in which they collisionally combine with their neighbours.

This is often a chaotic process and material gets lost as well as gained, said the study published in the journal Nature.

Massive planetary bodies impacting at several kilometres per second can generate substantial heat which, in turn, produces magma oceans and temporary atmospheres of vaporised rock.

Repeated loss of this vapour envelope during continued collisional growth causes the planet’s composition to change substantially.

“We have provided evidence that such a sequence of events occurred in the formation of the Earth and Mars, using high precision measurements of their magnesium isotope compositions,” said lead researcher Remco Hin from University of Bristol in Britain.

“Magnesium isotope ratios change as a result of silicate vapour loss, which preferentially contains the lighter isotopes. In this way, we estimated that more than 40 per cent of the Earth’s mass was lost during its construction,” he said.

For the study, the researchers analysed samples of the Earth together with meteorites from Mars and the asteroid Vesta, using a new technique to get higher quality measurements of magnesium isotope ratios than previously obtained.

“We now show that vapour loss during the high energy collisions of planetary accretion has a profound effect on a planet’s composition,” Hin said.

“This process seems common to planet building in general, not just for Earth and Mars, but for all planets in our Solar System and probably beyond, but differences in the collision histories of planets will create a diversity in their compositions,” he added. (IANS)

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NASA’s Asteroid-chasing Spacecraft Osiris-Rex Swinging by Earth on Way to Space Rock

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Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx at asteroid Bennu, a remnant from the dawn of the solar system that may hold clues to the origins of life. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab. VOA

NASA’s asteroid-chasing spacecraft is swinging by Earth on its way to a space rock.

Launched a year ago, Osiris-Rex will pass within about 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometers) of the home planet Friday afternoon. It will use Earth’s gravity as a slingshot to put it on a path toward the asteroid Bennu.

Also Read: NASA’S OSIRIS-REX mission to flyby Earth on Friday 

If all goes well, Osiris-Rex should reach the small, roundish asteroid next year and, in 2020, collect some of its gravel for return to Earth.

Friday’s close approach will occur over Antarctica. It will be a quick hello: The spacecraft will speed by at about 19,000 mph (31,000 kph). NASA has taken precautions to ensure Osiris-Rex does not slam into any satellites. Ground telescopes, meanwhile, have been trying to observe the spacecraft while it’s in the neighborhood.

(VOA)