Ocean Pollution: Plastic

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Post World War Two was a time where all citizens wanted a better quality of life. This quality of life also meant to protect the environment and the Earth they live on. Starting in the 1970s there became a huge depletion of natural resources and pollution became a huge problem. Specifically, in America, it only truly became evident in the 1970s but the interest of aiding the environment had been in the agenda since the 1960s. Even before the 1970s, acts were passed such as the Clean Water Act of 1960, Clean Air Acts of 1963, and the Water Quality Act of 1965. Several acts were put into place to initiate the betterment of the environment but it was not until 1970s when society began to notice. Not only did America notice a need for change but problems around the world such as Europe, Jakarta and several other areas had their own issues. However, in efforts of attempting to fix the environmental problems, several acts and solutions were determined and thus it is important to examine whether or not these solutions worked or not.

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Non-stop pollution was plaguing North America and with the rise of industrialization, fossil fuel and car pollution covered the blue skies. Not only was pollution a problem but so was oil landing in the ocean polluting the water with harmful toxins that killed several mammals. One example includes the 1969 oil rig failure that fell off the Coast of Santa Barbara and 100,000 barrels of oil covered the ocean shores. Another example was the oil spill in 1971 by the S.S Wafra, again this polluting of water was harming all life. There are many examples of environmental damages that were occuring in the United States and all over. Additionally, waste sites were all over. The Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York had over tons of hazardous waste. Due to this waste, several residents close by became ill and it caused many problems for families and the elderly. It was so bad that it caused an evacuation and people could not live in their homes. Acid deposition in the Northeast United States from the burning of coal and in the West United States from utilities and motor vehicles caused a number of problems as well. These are just a few examples of environmental issues that were happening in North America, not even on a global platform. When examining it on a global perspective, places like Jakarta were having serious air pollution due to cars and fossil fuels. Fossil fuels grew by a huge percent and air quality all around the world was dangerous.

In a bigger sense, global warming was also a rising issue. The greenhouse effect, which is caused by human fuels such as cars and fossil fuels were contributing the huge problem of global warming. The greenhouse effect consists of many gases such as carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorine gas. These gases are trapped in the atmosphere due to allowing sun to hit the Earth surface but they trap the heat in exactly like a plant greenhouse would. It reflects back on Earth. Many of the greenhouse emissions grew because of the 1970s thus as these gases continued to rise so did the temperature of the Earth. However, the greenhouse effect does not only affect just the rise in temperature but it also alters the amount of precipitation and where the rain lands and does not land. Thus areas that are already hot like Africa were not receiving rainfall which made it more hot or humid. The continuation of the greenhouse effects causes problems not only for Earth externally but for the animals and humans on Earth. Many have to suffer hotter temperatures and sometimes mammals will have to leave their homes or find new food sources because food would be scarce. Temperature rise also effects farming and that effects production for families to eat. Overall, problems like global warming, the greenhouse effect, oil spills and car and fossil fuel pollution became out of control and there needed to be something done.

The depletion of natural resources and pollution led to the growing awareness of global environmental problems and several new solutions were offered and some put into place. Firstly, the idea of Earth Day, which was first celebrated in 1970 was now celebrated every year on April 22nd. This day was created to allow people to acknowledge the fact that they need to protect the land they live on and this day showed appreciation to why. Earth Day mainly started because of the huge increase in oil spills and rise of pollution does the idea was to have more public consciousness and advocacy. Earth day today has become a huge phenomenon and many people around the world celebrate it.

In addition to Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970 by President Nixon. The Environmental Protection Agency established many acts to help the environment, some included the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Ocean Dumping Act of 1972. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was an act that had three intentions in which mainly all revolved around creating a harmonious relationship between man and Earth and for federal agencies to make more environmental assessments as well as pay more attention to what is happening. The Clean Air Act of 1970 was a very influential and effective act that established rules of fossil fuel emissions as well as car gases, additionally, on ways to protect ozone, and limitations on several vehicles such as cars, planes, and other modes of transportation. The Ocean Dumping Act of 1972 which made it illegal and would be fined for any dumpage into the ocean. Other acts included the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 and Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. Several more acts were passed but these were just a few that encouraged and helped in numerous ways.

In conclusion, since the acts have passed great progress has been made for the world and people living within. The level of pollution has dropped and even today in big cities there are not that many fossil fuel buildings around. After the 1970s the world moved from industrialization to modernization with technology. In today’s world cars are not working on electricity, fines are put into place for littering or dumping of waste etc. The Clean Air Act of 1970 most importantly continued to evolve over the years and is still very prevalent today. The environmental problems that occurred in the 1970s was a wake up call of the possibility of Earth becoming tarnished and there needed to be something done about it. The world needs to be taken care of and in order to do so the human population needs to be more aware and advocate for safer resources and cleaner ways.  

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Ocean Pollution: Plastic. (2021, Apr 18). Retrieved October 1, 2022 , from

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