In this blog post, I’m going to talk about the problem of plastic in the ocean. It’s a vast and challenging issue that we can all help solve by using more reusable materials, recycling, and reducing our disposable items.
This is equivalent to one garbage truck full of plastic dumped into the ocean per minute.
Plastic In The Ocean
National Geographic also reported that 80% of seabirds had eaten plastic; by 2050, all sea creatures may live with plastic-related diseases or defects. This issue needs attention now more than ever.
Why Remove Plastic In The Ocean
What if I told you there was more plastic in the ocean than fish? What if I said we were filling our beaches with trash as people sit back and watch? That would make the sea seem less inviting, wouldn’t it?
Imagine how much worse this must be for those living near or on these coasts who depend on fishing as their food source. We’re not drowning with all the plastic in the ocean, but we are choking on it. Plastic pollution is a real problem that needs to be addressed and fixed.
The first step to solving the issue is acknowledging its existence and understanding its enormous impact on our world.
Healthy Ocean: Benefits
Oceans are the largest water reservoir, covering 71% of the globe. The air we breathe, the oxygen we inhale, the heat vital to keep us warm, everything comes from oceans. Oceans prevent the earth from getting too hot or cold by circulating heat and inhabiting it.
Besides these benefits, the ocean’s vastness integrates an immense diversity of animals and plants. From tiny organisms to large blue whales, oceans are home to millions of creatures.
More Facts: Plastic In The Ocean
Human activities have smothered the oceans with piles of trash and plastic over the past few years. Only Americans are generating 10.5million tons of plastic every year. Only 1 to 2% is recycled while the remaining goes to oceans. Every year humans dump more than 8 million tons of plastic into oceans.
More than 70% of this plastic goes to the bottom of the water, where tiny creatures forming the food web base reside. Unfortunately, plastic does not go away; instead, it starts splitting into smaller pieces. These fragments absorb organic pollutants and sink into the marine bottom with time, waiting to be ingested by animals.
These poison integrating chunks are no less dangerous than time bombs. Aquatic animals, including fish, turtles, and mammals, get entangled in these pieces; they immediately die following the suffocation.
Plastic And Wildlife
In 2010, a California grey whale was found dead on the shores of Puget Sound. The whale’s stomach examination indicated a small towel, duct tape, surgical gloves, a golf ball, and more than 20 plastic bags.
Apart from fish and turtles, seabirds are another victim of plastic debris. Seabirds that feed on the ocean surface also carry food for their chicks. A study indicated that almost 98% of chick samples were detected with plastic debris.
More turtles are suffering from suffocation after ingesting pollutants. Young people are more vulnerable to eating debris than the entire turtle population as they aren’t as selective as their elders.
Cleaning Up Plastic In The Ocean
Recently, a company called Parley for the Oceans came up with a way to collect all those discarded plastics and turn them into something useful. They call it ‘ocean plastic.’ They first collect ocean plastics throughout coastal communities to make the material, grind them into tiny pieces and add recycled polyester. Their main goal is to replace virgin plastic and create a material that can help clean up the ocean.
The reality is that the ocean is already full of plastic, and most of it isn’t even visible- you often see small bits or pieces on beaches or caught in fishing nets. The problem with this is that these invisible particles are just as dangerous as larger pieces because they also contain harmful chemicals that can cause health problems for animals around them and humans when they enter their food chain.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the size of Texas and holds 3x more plastic than plankton. One trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans, killing 100 million animals annually.