Materials engineering is a popular field, as it tries to discover new materials of doing the ordinary things so as to minimize cost and resource. One of the discoveries in material engineering is plastic. It is used for many of our household products such as eating utensils, chairs and even cabinets. Cheap and light as it may seem, plastic has large costs especially to our environment. There are about 5 billion to 1 trillion plastic used every year around the globe (Wittenberg, 2009). It has certainly helped lighten way of doing things but "plastic bags, plastic bottles, and other synthetic materials have contributed to the world's biggest garbage dump, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean" (Wittenberg, 2009). Plastic does not just hurt our oceans but also our wildlife. "Every year over 1 million marine mammals, reptiles and birds, succumb to death by plastic bags. Animals can become entangled with them which may result in loss of limb or death and routinely ingest them" (Wittenberg, 2009). Since plastics take time to decompose, they absorb toxic chemicals like PCBs and DDE from the surrounding water, thus the ocean animals that fed on them get a dose of deadly synthetic compounds (Wittenberg, 2009). Plastics are also found to be "full of poisons that kill living things including people" (Lundberg). They contain cancer-casing petrochemicals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, dioxins, PCBs (Lundberg).
Aside from plastic, there ...Show more