Today we introduced the next topic in our environmental science unit: waste & litter. First, we discussed how littering is just another example of The Tragedy of the Commons. When you litter, the positive effects (it’s quick, easy, and convenient) go directly to you, while the negative effects (it’s ugly, takes a while to decompose, and is bad for plants and animals) are spread out.
Then we talked about how plastic is a particularly big problem. A simple water bottle will take about 450 years to decompose. Why? Because plastic is a relatively new addition to the biosphere, so plants and animals have not evolved to be able to digest it. Because of that, it can cause long-lasting problems, particularly if it ends up in the ocean. In the pacific, the currents pull garbage created by several different countries into one large patch. The precise size of the patch is difficult to measure, but some scientists believe it to be twice the size of Texas! To download a copy of the PowerPoint, click the link below.
May 19 – Waste & Litter Notes (pg706).pptx