OCEAN PLASTICS POLLUTION
A Global Tragedy for Our Oceans and Sea Life Plastic accumulating in our oceans and on our beaches has become a global crisis. Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences that make up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. At current rates plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050. Plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. Endangered wildlife like Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific loggerhead sea turtles are among nearly 700 species that eat and get caught in plastic litter.
It’s time to get at the root of this ocean crisis. The Center has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating plastics as a pollutant and is working to stop plastic pollution at the source, before it ever has a chance to reach the ocean. We’re surrounded by plastic. It’s in the single-use packaging we discard, the consumer goods that fill our stores, and in our clothing, which sheds microplastic fibers in the wash .In the first decade of this century, we made more plastic than all the plastic in history up to the year 2000. And every year, billions of pounds of more plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Studies estimate there are now 15-51 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans — from the equator to the poles, from Arctic ice sheets to the sea floor. Not one square mile of surface ocean anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution. The problem is growing into a crisis. The fossil fuel industry plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent over the next decade. These oil giants are rapidly building petrochemical plants across the United States to turn fracked gas into plastic. This means more toxic air pollution and plastic in our oceans. We need urgent action to address the global plastic pollution epidemic.
Unfortunately, plastic is so durable that the EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” All five of the Earth’s major ocean gyres are inundated with plastic pollution. The largest one has been dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a gyre of plastic debris in the north-central Pacific Ocean. It’s the largest accumulation of plastic in the world. The Center for Biological Diversity is tackling this problem on multiple fronts. We’ve petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking the government to regulate plastics as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act and will keep pushing for plastic pollution to be treated as the hazardous waste that it is. We’ve sued companies that turn plastic into consumer goods to better control their runoff. We’re challenging the permits needed to build those new ethane cracker plants and organizing grassroots resistance to stop them.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re committed to the long struggle to reduce ocean plastic pollution. After reading the above article, use the Critical Thinking skills that you have learned in this course to analyze in detail the argument presented, making sure that you clearly state the argument’s conclusion, plus the main implicit and explicit premises. Be sure to note and clearly explain any textbook Rules of Argument that are either applied correctly or incorrectly. Also, identify and explain any fallacies and questionable “facts” that you find in this article. Recall the Argument Rule- start with reliable premises.