Mariana Trench discussed on TED Talks Daily

TED Talks Daily


And so huge amount of plastics are illegally incinerated, informally dumped or get lost at sea. And as a result, millions of tons of plastic every year gets into our environment. But even plastics that are soundly managed emit greenhouse gases. Once plastic enter the environment, landfill are dispersed in soil or water, they start a process of breaking down into micro and nanoparticles. I will just call them microplastic for the sake of the conversation today. And this processes of breaking down, emit powerful gases such as methane, ethylene, and CO2. And that's true for both traditional and biodegradable plastics. On the surface of microplastics, a new microbial new microbial community can grow. We call them the plastic sphere. And the biological activity also release. Additional CO2 and nitrous oxide into the environment, creating the possibility of further magnifying the climate problem. And is that microplastic can also impair the growth and the photosynthesis capacity of phytoplankton, which are the microorganisms producing much of the oxygen we breathe. But also microplastics can have toxic effects of soil plankton. And the health of these organisms are essential for the functioning of all aquatic food webs. And unfortunately, the problems run even deeper. Microplastics bind with the so called marine snow, which are made out of the clumps of bacteria, plankton, and other organic material that sinks down into the ocean depth, acting like a biological carbon pump. But microplastics risk affecting this marine snow, and potentially decreasing the capacity of the ocean to absorb and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. And microplastics can be decreased in the reflective property of snow and ice. Potentially accelerating the melting of glacier and polar ice. So, we have early enough indications that plastic pollution is starting to change the processes that allow the earth climate system to work. And this pollution is not a localized phenomenon. Microplastics are everywhere from the mountain tops of Everest to the deepest sediment in the Mariana trench. They are in the air, we breathe, the water we drink, and the found in our bloodstream

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