Plastic in the ocean is extremely harmful to marine life and where they live. Not only does it harm them directly, but it also poses danger for navigation and, consequently… the seafood we eat. Specifically, plastic pollution in the ocean is harming sea turtles, in fact, 52% of sea turtles are affected by plastic pollution. This article will inform you on what the problem is, how it is affecting marine life, and how it is being improved.
The first question you might have is, What is the problem, why is plastic so concerning? Plastic is a polymeric material, that means it has large molecules, in long interconnected links or chains. Many plastics are also nonbiodegradable. Since plastic is lightweight, it is able to fall out of overfilled trash cans easily. Then, wind and weather carry plastic around and pollute environments. Or the plastic falls into the sewer drain and is carried to the ocean. According to the Britannica Encyclopedia from year 1950, 1.5 million tons of pollution doubled and in 2010 there was a recorded amount of 2.5 million tons. That was only on land, in the ocean 4-12 million tons are discarded annually. Plastic is actually unquestionably burdensome to recycle compared to glass, paper, and aluminum; but, recycling is at least the proper way to dispose plastic. There is not one place full of pollution, its all over the world.
A sea turtle, for example, mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. The plastic then gets stuck and clogs their small intestines. Now the turtle can’t collect any nutrients and will starve to death. As a turtle is swimming they can also get stuck in the plastic soda can rings. This is creating a huge problem worldwide, it is one of the biggest sources of biodiversity in sea turtles.
In 1987 a law was passed internationally stating that plastic would no longer be allowed to be dumped at sea. Since then, the plastic industry has also stepped in to help, they are a large supporter of the law and are working on new technologies for degradable plastic that won’t harm marine life. This will be extraordinarily helpful since biodegradable plastic can take up to 400 years to biodegrade. The plastic industry says, trying to take all the plastic waste from the environment would be prohibitive. In that case, a way to prevent plastic pollution is to properly dispose your plastic waste. Another way is advancement in recycling and degradable plastics.
In conclusion, plastic is a reoccurring problem in the world, being that plastic is harming our marine life. However, with your help we can change this, and support marine life. Next time you see plastic on the beach, pick it up; and don’t forget to recycle!
What are ways you can help make the ocean a safer place for marine and human life?
How far has the advancement of degradable plastic come along?
What can you do to prevent plastic pollution in our oceans?
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