The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Negative Externalty of Industrial Society

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According to the video, there is a massive garbage patch double the size of Texas floating around the Pacific Ocean polluting/killing the marine life that inhabits the ocean. 80% of the garbages that consist of this massive ‘garbage island’ are plastic, which are said to be 100% non-biodegradable.

This is another great example of negative externality along with Global Warming. These trash actually accumulated since the 1940’s when plastic became the common means of manufacturing goods.

At the time, people did not know that plastics can last thousands of years and cause environmental problems. So, the price for the products made out of plastic did not reflect the environmental cost to the society. As a result, this Great Pacific Garbage Patch is roving around the ocean  contaminating the marine life and causing much more problems.

Picture by Wikimedia Commons

In conclusion, markets should now recognize these hidden negative externalities and reflect them on the prices. This could be said to be a environmental problem, however, it is also economical (or rather financial) problem. It’ll take trillions of dollars to completely clean these garbages polluting the Pacific Ocean. I bet no government will be willing to pay for this clean-up. It is time international organizations such as United Nations to take action and force its members to tax on polluting firms and subsidize the firms developing environment-friendly technology.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jessica said,

    Dear Sang,

    What a moving post! The video is truly astounding. We are so far away from those areas that we do not see it, hardly, and just because we live in the same planet does not seem to make us think oft, and posts like these really bring us to see the ugliest yet the reality of the outcomes of our daily actions. I wrote an article also mentioning negative externality about overfishing, but yours is well spoken in a shorter post. Brief, yet terse – the perfect combination.

    Thanks, Sang, for the wonderful read. The video was very powerful and really worthwhile to watch. [I felt sorry for all the creatures]


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