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Plastic Pellet Accident in Hong Kong

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The plastic pellet spill incident is no long something new in 2012, which is a hot issue for our citizens. We are not only going to discuss what happen it is , but the influence and this incident is solvable or not. When the strong typhoon, Vicente, passed south in Hong Kong, there were seven CSL containers fell into sea which are about 168 tons of polypropylene colloidal particles into the ocean. Therefore, Vicente not only provides a holiday for us, but also an ecological disaster.

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After that a multitude of Hong Kong people are worried about the plastic pellet are harmful for human being or not and is it solvable in our society. In our opinion, it is solvable and the reason will be presented in the following. 2. Process To understand the situation behind this incident, we need to make clear the course first. During July’s typhoon, among the six containers filled by Chinese Petrochemical production of polypropylene colloidal particles, and after the storm these particles have drifted in the southern water of Hong Kong, which causes extensive ecological pollution and affects the local fishing industry.

Then, some non-government organizations discovered and shared this message through the internet, when the mainstream media was basically no coverage. Besides, more organizations took part in the civil clean-up activities and invited more volunteers. After one week, Sinopec permits civil officers to count containers loss and to assess the number of colloidal particles falling into the sea. At the same time, Hong Kong government did not organize any action for the remedy in this incident at all. Two weeks ago, the government reports some relevant information about the incident finally.

It is undeniable that Hong Kong is lack of education and common practice. This incident not only brings out a disaster for our society, but also enhances our sense of environmental protection. For instance, some parents took part in the clean-up action with their children can educate them to cherish our ecosystem. Nowadays, the clean-up action is still being. According to the data of Marine department in Hong Kong, the plastic pellets were cleaned up around 80% in October. 3. What is the plastic pellet? The plastic pellet in the incident is called Polyproylene (???), we may also call it PP.

The molecular formula of it is (C3H6)n. It is actually very common is our daily lives, many of our daily utilities are made up of it. There is a simple way to indicate whether the product is made up of PP of not, which is to look at the resin identification code. If the resin identification code that stated on the product is no. 5, then it is made up of PP and the raw material of the polypropylene is propylene from oil cracking. It has a high impact resistance, mechanical properties and tough, against a variety of organic solvents and acid corrosion.

It is one of the usual common polymer materials and widely used in industry and the melting point is around 130 to 171°C. 4. Properties Through observation, we can see that Polyproylene is transparent; this is because it is crystalline. In most of the time, we will mix it with another substance called ethylene, which will make PP tougher and with higher flexibility. Also, PP has a high melting point , the range is from 130-171°C depends on which kind of PP it is. That makes PP can be applied in many sectors.

Lastly, PP has a good resistance to fatigue, which means, even PP products had been used for a long period of time, they will not have a structural damage easily. That makes the products of PP have a high durability. 5. Usage From the properties I have mentioned above, we can conclude that PP has a lot of advantages. And because PP is very cheap, so it has a widely use in our daily lives. As PP has a high melting point, one of the major usages of it is to produce dishware or food container, it can also put into microwave for heating without the risk of being melted or release toxic substances.

Moreover, because PP is very tough, many plastic furniture are also made up of it. Compare to the furniture made up of metal, PP’s furniture can avoid corrosion. And it is more comfortable than metal furniture because metal will become hot if u sit on it for a period of time, but PP’s furniture is relatively cooler as it is plastic. Lastly, due to the resistance of fatigue, PP will also use to produce auto parts or industrial fibers, so it can ensure the risk of breaking down due to fatigue is minimized, and the cost is also lowered. 6. Misconceptions

From the response of the general public to the plastic pellet incident, we can see that most of us may have some common misconceptions towards the plastic pellets or PP. Firstly, the PP itself is non-toxic. If PP is toxic, then why would we use it to produce dishware? Or food containers? In fact, PP will only release toxic substances after a process called degradation. Secondly, PP is not digestible. No matter human beings or fish, even if we intake PP, our digestion system is not able to digest PP, we can only excrete them out of our body. The plastic pellets do not have immediate oxicity which means that polypropylene will not be absorbed by human and fishes so that is not harmful for human being; however, under the ultraviolet light and heat, polypropylene is easy to be photodegradation, after that when some aging plastic pellets enter into the food chain , it will impact our health. In conclusion, NO toxic substances will be transferred from the fish to human beings in that period of time. Combine the above two misconceptions, we can be sure that there will be no harm if we continue to intake any kind of fish in that period. But after the degradation process, toxic substances will be float all over the sea.

This is why we emphasize the cleaning must start immediately and be efficient. 7. After photodegration As we know that plastics are white and circle, and the surfaces are smooth but if plastics have irradiated by the ultraviolet radiation, the plastics bonding will be broken then they will become yellow and coarse which is photodegration. After suffering photodegration, there will produce two matters which are PCB (A polychlorinated biphenyl is any of the 209 configurations of organochlorides with 2 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl, which is a molecule composed of two benzene rings.

The chemical formula for a PCB is C12H10-xClx. 130 of the 209 different PCB arrangements and orientations are used commercially. ) and BPA( Bisphenol A is an organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. Having twophenol functional groups, it is used to take polycarbonate polymers and epoxy resins, along with other materials used to make plastics. Bisphenol A has a vapor pressure of 5*10?6 Pa).

When fishes eat or absorb something included PCB, it will harm our heart and be more easy to catch cancer and the BPA will affect our nervous system adversely such as liver, lung, kidney, skin and so on and based on A panel convened by the U. S. National Institutes of Health determined that there was “some concern” about BPA’s effects on fetal and infant brain development and behavior. For the ecosystem, when the plastics float at sea, it is not difficult for fishes and seabirds to absorb some matters are included PCB and BPA which will enter to the food chain.

According to the news, the site of the incident is Lamma Island where is the spawning grounds for the endangered chelonian mydas and the disaster just occurred in the green turtle nesting period. 8. The responsibility There is no doubt that this is an accident. Hong Kong government, however, has to assume the responsibility of spreading the plastics. Typhoon Vicente cased 7 containers fall into the sea at 7 July. And the government known the plastic fall into the sea but they just adopted a wait see attitude in this accident.

Government did not do anything until 5Augus and at that day government still did not have any actual action but only issued a statement which deemed that the plastics are harmless. It comes as no surprise that government did not respond quickly enough in this accident. However, it is not just mean not quick enough; it also means that government misses the best time to minimize the damage on environment and Economic. There is no doubt that the plastics will spread away thanks to the water flow. If the government responds more quickly, the plastics can be collected immediately.

Therefore, the plastic will not spread away and the damage on the environment can be minimized. On the other hand, the economic has not been minimized, too. Every tone of that kind of plastics can be sold about $10000. However, with the time passing the plastics will become Oxidation and turn into yellow. And the market price will drop to about $5000 per every tone. In another word the government misses the chance to minimize the damage due to the fact that government moves slowly. 9. Suggestions There are three suggestions for the government to improve respond of this kind of accident.

First of all, government should found a more efficient bulletin system between departments. In this accident, Marine Department and Environmental Protection Department know this accident at 7 July. However, high class offers did not get any information about this accident. Therefore, government should found a better bulletin system between departments especially about this kind of environmental accident. For example, found a system when there is a environmental accident happen all related departments have to report all the information they to the Chief Executive at that day.

And government can respond quicker and avoid the same mistake again. On the other hand, government should found a department which is specialized to deal with the environmental accident. In this accident, Marine Department and Environmental Protection Department know this accident at 7 July. However, both of their responsibilities are not dealing with this kind of environmental accident. For example, the Environmental Protection Department is responsible for developing policies covering environmental protection, nature conservation; enforcing environmental legislation.

As a result, no department responds to this accident. Therefore, we suggest that Hong Kong government should found a department which is specialized to deal with the environmental accident. Hong Kong can take U. S. A as example. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the United States federal government which is specialized to deal with the environmental accident. At last but not least, we suggest government keeps doing the follow up works such as keeping collecting the plastics. Found some Conventional organization to keep collecting plastics.

For example, Government can provide some funding for some N. G. O such as Green Peace to found a team to collect the plastic in order to reduce the damage to the environment. Also, government should found some clear leads of Operating containers during bad weather in order to avoid this kind of accident happen again. On the other hand, government can use this chance as an opportunity to educate citizens the importance of protecting the environment. For example, government can produce some videos which are about is accident and show on the ETV in order to educate people. 0. Conclusion All in all, there is not that this accident is a disaster. However, when comes to the question ‘Is it solvable? ’ The answer is ‘Yes’. It comes as no surprise it is imposable to collect all the plastic form the sea but according to the data from the government 80% of plastic had been collected in October. It is because most of the plastic had been collected we believe that this problem has been solved. We all hope there will not be another accident like this and our environment can maintain well.

Cite this Plastic Pellet Accident in Hong Kong

Plastic Pellet Accident in Hong Kong. (2016, Nov 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/plastic-pellet-accident-in-hong-kong/

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