If you want to ask my friends, what is the most inseparable thing in society nowadays? Many people may answer that it is a mobile phone. Yes, the mobile phone is indeed an indispensable tool in modern people’s daily life. But in fact, what people really can’t live without in daily life is not mobile phones, but plastic products that are ignored by many people.
I believe that my friends are not unfamiliar with plastics. We can observe our surroundings. I believe you can see many plastic products. With the continuous progress of human civilization and the rapid development of science and technology, people’s quality of life continues to improve, and the scope of application of plastics is becoming wider and more widespread. It is what modern people cannot do without.
The massive application of plastics has brought a lot of convenience to people’s lives, but at the same time it has also created a new source of pollution, which is white pollution. I believe many friends are aware of white pollution, which mainly refers to the pollution of plastic products. Maybe many people don’t know much about this plastic, so let’s briefly introduce it first.
The plastic we usually use is not a single component, it is made up of many materials. Among them, high molecular polymers (or synthetic resins) are the main components of plastics. In addition, in order to improve the performance of plastics, various auxiliary materials, such as fillers, plasticizers, lubricants, and stabilizers, must be added to the high molecular compounds. , Colorants, antistatic agents, etc., can become plastics with good performance.
Plastic is a kind of high molecular polymer, and this kind of object has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that most plastics are light in weight, chemically stable, and will not rust; good impact resistance; good transparency and abrasion resistance; good insulation, low thermal conductivity; general moldability, good coloring, and processing low cost.
The disadvantage is that most plastics have poor heat resistance, high thermal expansion rate, and easy to burn; poor dimensional stability and easy deformation; most plastics have poor low temperature resistance, become brittle at low temperatures, and are easy to age. When recycling waste plastics, sorting is very difficult and economically uneconomical. Plastics are easy to burn and produce toxic gas when burned. For example, toluene is produced when polystyrene is burned. A small amount of this substance can cause blindness, vomiting and other symptoms when inhaled. The burning of PVC can also produce toxic gas of hydrogen chloride. In addition to burning, the high temperature environment will cause the plastic to decompose toxic components, such as benzene. .
Of course, these shortcomings have not the greatest impact on the environment. The biggest impact is that plastics are high-molecular polymers, which are extremely difficult to biodegrade in the natural environment. Buried in the ground for hundreds of years, it is difficult to rot. Due to the inability of natural degradability of plastic, it has become the number one enemy of mankind, and it has also led to the tragedy of many animal deaths. For example, the monkeys, pelicans, dolphins and other animals in the zoo would accidentally swallow the No. 1 plastic bottle thrown away by tourists, and finally died in pain due to indigestion.
Some people may think that plastic pollution is only aimed at the terrestrial ecological environment, but in fact, scientists have discovered through research that plastic waste is increasingly polluting the ocean. There is a very large “continent” in the Pacific Ocean. This “continent” is actually caused by The composition of plastic waste around the world is also called the garbage continent.
It can be seen how serious the pollution of the ocean by plastic garbage is, and this garbage continent is still expanding outwards. In addition to plastic garbage on the surface, plastic garbage has also been found at different depths of the ocean, even in the deepest ocean. In the Mariana Trench, scientists also found a lot of human plastic waste.
It can be seen that the pollution of plastic waste to the earth’s ecology is omni-directional, not limited to land. Some people might say that no matter how bad the pollution of plastic waste is, as long as we don’t take the initiative to eat plastic, it will be fine. Is this really the case? If you think so, you may be wrong. Scientists have also found a lot of plastic particles in human bodies. This is not a good phenomenon.
Moreover, with the continuous advancement of human civilization, the degree of accumulation of plastic particles in the human body has become more and more serious. I believe many friends know that all diseases are caused by eating. There are a lot of plastic particles in the human body, so we naturally eat them. It may be said that we are not so stupid to take the initiative to eat plastic, but why are there so many plastic particles in the body?
To unravel this mystery, we must have an understanding of the process of plastics in the earth’s ecological cycle. Yes, we don’t take the initiative to eat plastic. Everyone knows that plastic is not good for human health, but many things don’t happen if you don’t want it. A large amount of plastic waste used in human daily life has entered the nature, and there are a large number of living things whether it is on land or in the sea.
Humans don’t eat plastic, but that doesn’t mean that other animals don’t. In fact, many animals in nature eat plastic. In the eyes of animals, plastic is also a kind of food. Although plastic is extremely difficult to be completely biodegraded in the natural environment, it will also decay and decompose. After the decay and decomposition, it is a good food for many animals.
Therefore, animals on the land will eat plastic, and organisms in the ocean will also eat plastic. These plastics are also difficult to be completely digested and decomposed when entering the organism. They will be decomposed into tiny particles and exist in the organism. I believe many friends know that there are rules in the biosphere that big fish eat small fish. When small fish eat plastic and then are eaten by larger fish, these plastic particles will continue to accumulate in the biological chain.
Humans are the top creatures on the earth’s biological chain. When these plastic particles continue to accumulate in the biological chain, the final destination is humans. Because humans are creatures at the top of the food chain, there are no creatures that humans dare not eat, so the plastic particles in their bodies will eventually enter the human body. In this way, the plastic particles in the human body will gather more and more.
In addition to the continuous enrichment of plastics by eating, many of our clothes are not made of pure cotton, and most of them are made of synthetic fibers (that is, polyester), such as polyester and acrylic. These things will fall off the clothes and float into the air, and then be inhaled by our body. When washing clothes, these fibers will be brought into the earth’s fresh water resources along with the waste water.
If things go on like this, the content of these fibers will become higher and higher, and they will continue to accumulate in the body of organisms. Think about it, nature takes millions of years to decompose highly polymerized molecules, and organisms simply can’t make these things. “Digest” away.
So what impact will the accumulation of plastic in the human body have on us? Studies have shown that microplastics may cause damage to the reproductive system and liver. Scientists have found 9 most common plastic components PET and polypropylene (PP) in the human body, which are common components in plastic food packaging and synthetic clothes.
It is an ironclad fact that every human body has been invaded by plastic particles or plastic fibers, but scientists who mainly enter these plastics through which way are not very clear. The short-term or even long-term risks to people are also present. unknown.
It is certain that plastic particles will have an impact on the health of the human body, but there is no final conclusion about the specific impact. Now we all know that plastic pollution has begun to affect human health, and if we want to reduce this impact, we have only two methods.
One way is to strengthen the protection of the environment, and to properly dispose of plastics and other products, instead of discarding them randomly as in the past. For plastic waste, it is difficult to see recycled plastics in our daily lives due to the low efficiency of recyclability. If the collected plastic waste has no recyclable value, the best way to deal with it is to bury it deep underground so that it is not directly exposed to the air, so that it can greatly reduce environmental pollution and biological hazards.
Another way is that we look for things that can decompose and degrade organisms. In fact, scientists have been looking for natural enemies to study plastics. Through continuous research, it has been discovered that in nature, there is indeed an organism that can effectively degrade plastic, and its name is yellow mealworm. This kind of insect is similar to silkworm. Humans can also eat it directly and stir-fry. I believe some friends have eaten this kind of insect.
Scientists in my country have discovered that plastics can be rapidly biodegraded in the intestines of yellow mealworms. This may be a good way for us to solve plastic pollution. We can centralize the recycling of plastic waste, and then raise a large number of yellow mealworms and let them eat plastic, which can effectively solve the problem of environmental pollution caused by plastics that are difficult to degrade.
Of course, to achieve this, there is still a long way to go. In any case, the power of nature is very magical. In addition to yellow mealworms, there may be other creatures that can degrade plastic in nature, but we have not discovered it yet. I believe that with the efforts of mankind, it will no longer be difficult to solve the problem of plastic pollution in the future.