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Singaporeans obsession with Plastic bags

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Postby taxico » Mon, 18 Feb 2013 10:29 pm

NTP's report on styrene (background included):

http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/files/styrene_ ... 5B1%5D.pdf

http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelft ... tyrene.pdf

or we can look at the aptly named Plastic News:

Study concludes styrene exposure not carcinogenic

Published: February 14, 2013 11:28 am ET
Updated: February 14, 2013 11:31 am ET

WASHINGTON -- A new study of nearly 16,000 workers exposed to styrene in the workplace shows no credible evidence that styrene exposures increase cancer risks, the Styrene Information and Research Council, a sponsor of the report, said.

The study, "Cancer Mortality of Workers Exposed to Styrene in the U.S. Reinforced Plastics and Composite Industry," was published in the March 2013 issue of the scientific journal Epidemiology. The research council said it supported the research but did not contribute in any way to its content.

The authors of the study examined mortality rates associated with cumulative exposures, durations of exposure, peak exposures, average exposures and times since first exposures to styrene, based on 60 years of epidemiology data, the SIRC said.

This is the second study so far this year that finds no connection between styrene exposure and cancer. Gradient, a Cambridge, Mass.-based environmental and risk science consulting firm working for SIRC, issued an analysis of previous existing styrene studies, also finding no correlation between styrene exposure and increased fatality from any type of cancer.

Since June 2011, SIRC and its members have been fighting the inclusion of styrene as an anticipated human carcinogen in the National Toxicology Program's 12th Report on Carcinogens.

NTP ruling was based on a biased and faulty review of existing data, and the European Union declined to list styrene as a carcinogen after reviewing the same evidence, SIRC said.

http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/201 ... rcinogenic

taxico
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Postby taxico » Mon, 18 Feb 2013 10:57 pm

99% of our exposure to chemical occurs naturally. (source: UC Berkeley's Carcinogenic Potency Project)

science, medicine and our outlook on health have changed remarkably in recent times. the modern man's fear of chemicals and germs is not normal. (Rob Dunn, 'The Wild Life of our Bodies')

i would not worry too much about what we eat but rather worry more about eating LESS (everything, including styrofoam boxes and bugs) and exercising more.

please, please watch this clip (please? it's less than 8 minutes long and i guarantee you'll find it enlightening):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGOBm2J4tn0&hl

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:49 am

[Apologies this is arguably OT]

I remember 'like yesterday' the first time I saw a styrofoam cup, I can still clearly visualise the scene. It was in the cafe in The Science Museum in London in 1972.

We were there on a school trip, and this stranger was drinking tea from it opposite me on our table. When he left, he left his cup behind, and I just picked it up and studied it in complete wonder. 'Translucent, so light, weird!!!'

It really was space-age stuff!

I find it interesting how we adopt new things and then come to consider them as normal and every-day within a short span of time.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 19 Feb 2013 7:54 am

rajagainstthemachine wrote:This is me playing my fav cd at home
Image

I don't think so. Firstly, these protective glasses you wear are made of PC so again Bisphenol-A, secondly, this is a suit for lower class clean room. It does not protect against any vapors. You will only be protected against skin contact toxicity. Now if you would wear a full body suit sealing you completely off from the environment then it is even worse: the window will be made of PVC (if elastic) or again PC or PMMA. PVC you already know - your favourite phtalate plasticizers and PMMA is made of methyl methacrylate described in the data safety sheets this way: Hazardous according to criteria of NOHSC. HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE. DANGEROUS GOODS. R11 Highly flammable. R37/38 Irritating to respiratory system and skin. R43 May cause sensitisation by skin contact. Even worse things can be expected in the body part of the suit. It is very likely to be sealed with polyurethanes, and polyurethanes are made with isocyanates. A member of this family (methyl isocyanate) is responsible for the Bophal disaster. Side products from the reaction of isocyanates with water, and you are ++80% made of water, can be also cancerogenic / teratogenic.
[..]
And so on and so forth.
Got the message? :)

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 19 Feb 2013 8:38 am

taxico wrote:NTP's report on styrene (background included):

http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/files/styrene_ ... 5B1%5D.pdf

http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelft ... tyrene.pdf

or we can look at the aptly named Plastic News:

Study concludes styrene exposure not carcinogenic

Published: February 14, 2013 11:28 am ET
Updated: February 14, 2013 11:31 am ET


Thanks taxico, very timely finding.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 19 Feb 2013 9:10 am

rajagainstthemachine wrote:What I really want to highlight was, given the availability of natural products like Jute, Palm, coir, banana leaves,bamboo for the manufacture of bags, food containers should be encouraged as usage of these products give the following distinct advantages.

1. provide employment for many poor people who can start cottage industries. [ this already happens in India a lot]

2. the decomposition of natural products is much quicker than say styrene/plastics

3. the impact on wildlife caused by mindless use of plastics can be avoided.
as many animals choke and die eating these products,


(3) - I doubt it is any significant
(1,2) - I will try to answer below.

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Let me ask you a question, would you prefer to eat your food served to you in a polystyrene container thats going to possibly take years to disintegrate or would you prefer to be served to you in a biodegradable palm container which would provide the same quality as the polystyrene and then decompose in 5-10 days?


I would prefer to eat my food served from non-disposable containers, glass made if possible. Now, for the whole rest, I think it is not that straight forward. I am talking about the point earlier made by 3Wan and I am going to expand it a bit. Degradability is only one aspect and all together what should be considered is the whole life of the product.

Questions like these:
- what is the eco-impact of getting the raw materials? (huge plantations of a single specie are not too good neither).
- what is more eco friendly to manufacture? (I am not that sure if doing something different, here natural fibre processing, more basic way is always more eco friendly than doing something more complicated high tech with all the stringent standards - i.e. in a PS plant. These cottage industries will surely pollute your already polluted environment)
- is it easier to recycle or easier to degrade?
+ what is more cost effective?
+ what is more eco friendly?

Some further could likely be added.

From this perspective it is not really that completely obvious what would be better to do. There are whole research areas dealing with product life-cycle, carbon foot print, sustainability manufacturing etc. The only obvious solution is to limit the use of disposable materials.

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:00 pm

x9200 wrote:I don't think so. Firstly, these protective glasses you wear are made of PC so again Bisphenol-A, secondly, this is a suit for lower class clean room. It does not protect against any vapors. You will only be protected against skin contact toxicity. Now if you would wear a full body suit sealing you completely off from the environment then it is even worse: the window will be made of PVC (if elastic) or again PC or PMMA. PVC you already know - your favourite phtalate plasticizers and PMMA is made of methyl methacrylate described in the data safety sheets this way: Hazardous according to criteria of NOHSC. HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE. DANGEROUS GOODS. R11 Highly flammable. R37/38 Irritating to respiratory system and skin. R43 May cause sensitisation by skin contact. Even worse things can be expected in the body part of the suit. It is very likely to be sealed with polyurethanes, and polyurethanes are made with isocyanates. A member of this family (methyl isocyanate) is responsible for the Bophal disaster. Side products from the reaction of isocyanates with water, and you are ++80% made of water, can be also cancerogenic / teratogenic.
[..]
And so on and so forth.
Got the message? :)


I knew you would say something like this. So I posted the pic to lead you on :P
and no I am quite a normal person like most people

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:15 pm

x9200 wrote:
rajagainstthemachine wrote:What I really want to highlight was, given the availability of natural products like Jute, Palm, coir, banana leaves,bamboo for the manufacture of bags, food containers should be encouraged as usage of these products give the following distinct advantages.

1. provide employment for many poor people who can start cottage industries. [ this already happens in India a lot]

2. the decomposition of natural products is much quicker than say styrene/plastics

3. the impact on wildlife caused by mindless use of plastics can be avoided.
as many animals choke and die eating these products,


(3) - I doubt it is any significant

oh ya? watch this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M9t2fm__K0

(1,2) - I will try to answer below.

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Let me ask you a question, would you prefer to eat your food served to you in a polystyrene container thats going to possibly take years to disintegrate or would you prefer to be served to you in a biodegradable palm container which would provide the same quality as the polystyrene and then decompose in 5-10 days?


I would prefer to eat my food served from non-disposable containers, glass made if possible. Now, for the whole rest, I think it is not that straight forward. I am talking about the point earlier made by 3Wan and I am going to expand it a bit. Degradability is only one aspect and all together what should be considered is the whole life of the product.

Questions like these:
- what is the eco-impact of getting the raw materials? (huge plantations of a single specie are not too good neither).

- what is more eco friendly to manufacture? (I am not that sure if doing something different, here natural fibre processing, more basic way is always more eco friendly than doing something more complicated high tech with all the stringent standards - i.e. in a PS plant. These cottage industries will surely pollute your already polluted environment)
- is it easier to recycle or easier to degrade?
+ what is more cost effective?
+ what is more eco friendly?

Some further could likely be added.

From this perspective it is not really that completely obvious what would be better to do. There are whole research areas dealing with product life-cycle, carbon foot print, sustainability manufacturing etc. The only obvious solution is to limit the use of disposable materials.


Banana, palm, coconut are tropical plants found in plenty over South Asia and ASEAN, and we're talking using the plant by products not even the plants themselves
I am aware of single specie or monoculture impact and its not a good thing.
cottage industry is a good thing to have, relying on local produce from overseas [ I know this isn't practical in Singapore ] has a large carbon footprint.
Sometimes even buying local produce means there is no need for extensive packaging.
There are several ways an individual can reduce plastic consumption and pollute less
The end result is we leave the planet a bit safer/cleaner for our future generations

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 1:20 am

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Let me ask you a question, would you prefer to eat your food served to you in a polystyrene container thats going to possibly take years to disintegrate or would you prefer to be served to you in a biodegradable palm container which would provide the same quality as the polystyrene and then decompose in 5-10 days?


Polystyrene is recycled. That is surely preferable to something that is thrown away. Right?


rajagainstthemachine wrote:Banana, palm, coconut are tropical plants found in plenty over South Asia and ASEAN, and we're talking using the plant by products not even the plants themselves. I am aware of single specie or monoculture impact and its not a good thing. cottage industry is a good thing to have, relying on local produce from overseas [ I know this isn't practical in Singapore ] has a large carbon footprint. Sometimes even buying local produce means there is no need for extensive packaging. There are several ways an individual can reduce plastic consumption and pollute less
The end result is we leave the planet a bit safer/cleaner for our future generations


- Why is 'cottage industry a good thing to have'?

- What is a 'carbon footprint', and why should anyone care?

- You advocate importing palm goods from abroad and then say 'relying on local produce from overseas has a large carbon footprint'. I'm lost here.

- You refer to plastic 'consumption'. Do you yourself recycle plastics?

- 'Leaving the planet safer/cleaner for the next generation'. Are we the first and only generation who are so enlightened, so noble, and so considerate, and if so why might that be?

Not having any wars to pre-occupy the citizens, do you think politicians have created a false-war: 'The war on rubbish', in your own home every day?

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 8:55 am

JR8 wrote:
rajagainstthemachine wrote:Let me ask you a question, would you prefer to eat your food served to you in a polystyrene container thats going to possibly take years to disintegrate or would you prefer to be served to you in a biodegradable palm container which would provide the same quality as the polystyrene and then decompose in 5-10 days?


Polystyrene is recycled. That is surely preferable to something that is thrown away. Right?

lol come back to this discussion when you have a better point than that.

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Banana, palm, coconut are tropical plants found in plenty over South Asia and ASEAN, and we're talking using the plant by products not even the plants themselves. I am aware of single specie or monoculture impact and its not a good thing. cottage industry is a good thing to have, relying on local produce from overseas [ I know this isn't practical in Singapore ] has a large carbon footprint. Sometimes even buying local produce means there is no need for extensive packaging. There are several ways an individual can reduce plastic consumption and pollute less
The end result is we leave the planet a bit safer/cleaner for our future generations


- Why is 'cottage industry a good thing to have'?

lol spread of economic wealth? employment to poor people ?

case in point : weaving of bamboo mats for bamboo ply is done by tribals in North East India using locally available bamboo. they make money and can sustain themselves.



- What is a 'carbon footprint', and why should anyone care?

buying an apple from USA when an apple grown in a local country is available is an example. that apple carries with it a carbon footprint
i.e the amount of fuel required to transport that item,
you don't have to care, I do.

- You advocate importing palm goods from abroad and then say 'relying on local produce from overseas has a large carbon footprint'. I'm lost here.

well when i mentioned "importing palm goods from abroad" i was referring to Singapore specifically.
but for a larger country the local produce concept holds

- You refer to plastic 'consumption'. Do you yourself recycle plastics?

when you buy stuff from the market and they pack it in a plastic bag you obviously are a consumer of the bag too? yes? :roll:

- 'Leaving the planet safer/cleaner for the next generation'. Are we the first and only generation who are so enlightened, so noble, and so considerate, and if so why might that be?

well, someone should start. why are you so antagonistic if I may ask?

Not having any wars to pre-occupy the citizens, do you think politicians have created a false-war: 'The war on rubbish', in your own home every day?

I'd rather wage a war with actual garbage than deal with the real garbage of politics.


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Postby x9200 » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 10:32 am

rajagainstthemachine wrote:
x9200 wrote:
rajagainstthemachine wrote:3. the impact on wildlife caused by mindless use of plastics can be avoided.
as many animals choke and die eating these products,


(3) - I doubt it is any significant

oh ya? watch this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M9t2fm__K0

Sorry, I don't want to sound like an emotionless bastard but it is just another propaganda video with nothing concrete in it. Of course it happens and appeals very much to the hearts but in the scale of the population is marginal. Very likely much more birds and mammals die in road kill accidents. Would you oppose to use the cars? It is all about balancing the positive and negative effects and the 'plastics' give tremendous benefits.

(1,2) - I will try to answer below.

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Let me ask you a question, would you prefer to eat your food served to you in a polystyrene container thats going to possibly take years to disintegrate or would you prefer to be served to you in a biodegradable palm container which would provide the same quality as the polystyrene and then decompose in 5-10 days?


I would prefer to eat my food served from non-disposable containers, glass made if possible. Now, for the whole rest, I think it is not that straight forward. I am talking about the point earlier made by 3Wan and I am going to expand it a bit. Degradability is only one aspect and all together what should be considered is the whole life of the product.

Questions like these:
- what is the eco-impact of getting the raw materials? (huge plantations of a single specie are not too good neither).

- what is more eco friendly to manufacture? (I am not that sure if doing something different, here natural fibre processing, more basic way is always more eco friendly than doing something more complicated high tech with all the stringent standards - i.e. in a PS plant. These cottage industries will surely pollute your already polluted environment)
- is it easier to recycle or easier to degrade?
+ what is more cost effective?
+ what is more eco friendly?

Some further could likely be added.

From this perspective it is not really that completely obvious what would be better to do. There are whole research areas dealing with product life-cycle, carbon foot print, sustainability manufacturing etc. The only obvious solution is to limit the use of disposable materials.


Banana, palm, coconut are tropical plants found in plenty over South Asia and ASEAN, and we're talking using the plant by products not even the plants themselves
I am aware of single specie or monoculture impact and its not a good thing.
cottage industry is a good thing to have, relying on local produce from overseas [ I know this isn't practical in Singapore ] has a large carbon footprint.
Sometimes even buying local produce means there is no need for extensive packaging.
There are several ways an individual can reduce plastic consumption and pollute less
The end result is we leave the planet a bit safer/cleaner for our future generations


Ok, so no monoculture, then it is fine but what about the whole rest? The fact that somebody is processing a natural product does not mean that the technology is natural, clean and eco-friendly. Take as an example the early paper industry. Even if not bleached, it gave hell lot of pollution.
A modern plastic plant has all the filters, all up to date machinery and the technology to minimize the wastes production as well as waste handling within strictly monitored limits. This is surely not the case for the cottage industry. I am not familiar with the process but they will likely need some water and some mechanical power (petrol driven?), thermal treatment (?), they will produce some waste etc. While I don't have doubts it will be good for local ('cottage') economy I am rather sceptical it will be more environmentally friendly than any modern 'plastic' plant. This may pretty much level down all the potential benefits for the use of such materials.

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 11:03 am

x9200 wrote:
rajagainstthemachine wrote:
x9200 wrote:
rajagainstthemachine wrote:3. the impact on wildlife caused by mindless use of plastics can be avoided.
as many animals choke and die eating these products,


(3) - I doubt it is any significant

oh ya? watch this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M9t2fm__K0

Sorry, I don't want to sound like an emotionless bastard but it is just another propaganda video with nothing concrete in it. Of course it happens and appeals very much to the hearts but in the scale of the population is marginal. Very likely much more birds and mammals die in road kill accidents. Would you oppose to use the cars? It is all about balancing the positive and negative effects and the 'plastics' give tremendous benefits.

(1,2) - I will try to answer below.

rajagainstthemachine wrote:Let me ask you a question, would you prefer to eat your food served to you in a polystyrene container thats going to possibly take years to disintegrate or would you prefer to be served to you in a biodegradable palm container which would provide the same quality as the polystyrene and then decompose in 5-10 days?


I would prefer to eat my food served from non-disposable containers, glass made if possible. Now, for the whole rest, I think it is not that straight forward. I am talking about the point earlier made by 3Wan and I am going to expand it a bit. Degradability is only one aspect and all together what should be considered is the whole life of the product.

Questions like these:
- what is the eco-impact of getting the raw materials? (huge plantations of a single specie are not too good neither).

- what is more eco friendly to manufacture? (I am not that sure if doing something different, here natural fibre processing, more basic way is always more eco friendly than doing something more complicated high tech with all the stringent standards - i.e. in a PS plant. These cottage industries will surely pollute your already polluted environment)
- is it easier to recycle or easier to degrade?
+ what is more cost effective?
+ what is more eco friendly?

Some further could likely be added.

From this perspective it is not really that completely obvious what would be better to do. There are whole research areas dealing with product life-cycle, carbon foot print, sustainability manufacturing etc. The only obvious solution is to limit the use of disposable materials.


Banana, palm, coconut are tropical plants found in plenty over South Asia and ASEAN, and we're talking using the plant by products not even the plants themselves
I am aware of single specie or monoculture impact and its not a good thing.
cottage industry is a good thing to have, relying on local produce from overseas [ I know this isn't practical in Singapore ] has a large carbon footprint.
Sometimes even buying local produce means there is no need for extensive packaging.
There are several ways an individual can reduce plastic consumption and pollute less
The end result is we leave the planet a bit safer/cleaner for our future generations


Ok, so no monoculture, then it is fine but what about the whole rest? The fact that somebody is processing a natural product does not mean that the technology is natural, clean and eco-friendly. Take as an example the early paper industry. Even if not bleached, it gave hell lot of pollution.
A modern plastic plant has all the filters, all up to date machinery and the technology to minimize the wastes production as well as waste handling within strictly monitored limits. This is surely not the case for the cottage industry. I am not familiar with the process but they will likely need some water and some mechanical power (petrol driven?), thermal treatment (?), they will produce some waste etc. While I don't have doubts it will be good for local ('cottage') economy I am rather sceptical it will be more environmentally friendly than any modern 'plastic' plant. This may pretty much level down all the potential benefits for the use of such materials.


The birds and animals that die in road kill cases do not alter the food chain.
the animals which die to environmental pollution however affect the food chain.
eg: The great Indian Vulture population was decimated after feeding on carcasses of veterinary animals injected with diclofenac sodium which is a painkiller
that video about albatrosses dying in large numbers due to plastic is another case in point
The American Eagle numbers are declining due to DDT contamination
I could go on but these deaths pose a far serious problem than roadkill

Perhaps I could define what a cottage industry does.

There is very little dependence on electricity and water. It involves more human resources.
They are often run out of a persons home
I know you are probably going to argue with me regarding the economics and the size/scalability of the whole thing and I will agree with you its not as simple as the suggestions I make. It's more reasonable to assume that these industries can cater for neary by towns and villages than on a global scale

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 12:01 pm

rajagainstthemachine wrote:
x9200 wrote:Ok, so no monoculture, then it is fine but what about the whole rest? The fact that somebody is processing a natural product does not mean that the technology is natural, clean and eco-friendly. Take as an example the early paper industry. Even if not bleached, it gave hell lot of pollution.
A modern plastic plant has all the filters, all up to date machinery and the technology to minimize the wastes production as well as waste handling within strictly monitored limits. This is surely not the case for the cottage industry. I am not familiar with the process but they will likely need some water and some mechanical power (petrol driven?), thermal treatment (?), they will produce some waste etc. While I don't have doubts it will be good for local ('cottage') economy I am rather sceptical it will be more environmentally friendly than any modern 'plastic' plant. This may pretty much level down all the potential benefits for the use of such materials.


The birds and animals that die in road kill cases do not alter the food chain.
the animals which die to environmental pollution however affect the food chain.
eg: The great Indian Vulture population was decimated after feeding on carcasses of veterinary animals injected with diclofenac sodium which is a painkiller
that video about albatrosses dying in large numbers due to plastic is another case in point
The American Eagle numbers are declining due to DDT contamination
I could go on but these deaths pose a far serious problem than roadkill

Do you have any statistical data showing how in case of the 'plastics' the food chain is affected?

Perhaps I could define what a cottage industry does.

There is very little dependence on electricity and water. It involves more human resources.
They are often run out of a persons home
I know you are probably going to argue with me regarding the economics and the size/scalability of the whole thing and I will agree with you its not as simple as the suggestions I make. It's more reasonable to assume that these industries can cater for neary by towns and villages than on a global scale


Actually, this is what I was thinking about (what is the cottage industry) and I still expect it to be more polluting (all together per unit of the final product) than any of modern plastic plant. They will release wastes with no purification or burn them out in some bonfires. They will use some primitive machinery for processing that will further pollute the surrounding. Each and every individual as compared to one big plant with everything under control.

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 5:42 pm

rajagainstthemachine wrote:The American Eagle numbers are declining due to DDT contamination



---------------------------------------
'Bald eagles have staged a remarkable population rebound and have recovered to the point that they no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Thus, on June 28, 2007, the Service announced the recovery of our nation’s symbol and removal from the list of threatened and endangered species.

---------------------------------------
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/recovery/biologue.html

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Wed, 20 Feb 2013 5:47 pm

^

I only found 2 reports which had any real value in it.

http://www.unep.org/regionalseas/marine ... report.pdf

http://www.algalita.org/uploads/Plastic ... Gyre-1.pdf


I will disagree with x9200 about cottage industries being more polluting than a plastic industry and actually It depends on country to country. In the western world there are stringent Quality measures to ensure the contaminants in run off water by industries adhere to some permissible limits. Also the water is treated before run off.

In the developing world, this need not be the case. There are hundreds of small scale industries making pharmaceuticals,plastics,dye factories etc etc
letting off water without treating it. The pollution caused by cottage industry vs a small scale industry making styrene based products is manifold

this is what typically happens :-| :-|


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