Oceans constitute most of the Earth’s surface area compared to the landmass where we live in. Therefore, it can be said that marine life and habitat must be taken care of by the rising human population. However, with the boom in the human population and industrialization, water pollution has increased considerably over the last few decades, reaching disastrous levels in a short period of time.
The ocean is one of the most beautiful gifts of the Earth. It is the home to millions of aquatic life, all of which form a stable marine ecosystem. However, the increase in oceanic pollution by mankind has disturbed the balance in that ecosystem, leading to mass-scale death and destruction of marine life.
The constant pumping of sewage wastes into the ocean, along with the melting of the ice caps due to global warming, has made the oceans more and more deadly every passing day.
Shocking facts about rubbish in the ocean
Plastic is the most harmful rubbish in the oceans
Plastic-based products are the most common forms of rubbish found in the ocean. Plastic is also the most harmful form of rubbish in the ocean, as it is not degradable. Fish and other animals often mistake it for food and consume it, leading to a large number of deaths due to plastic ingestion. It has been found out that there are over 25 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans.
Over a million sea birds die due to the rubbish in the ocean
Every year, a million sea birds are found dead and washed up on the beaches all over the world. This is because of food poisoning and plastic ingestion. Sea birds often end up consuming plastic products and poisoned fish, leading to their untimely demise. Oil spills also harm the health of the sea birds, as their wings and noses often get clogged in oil, leading to suffocation, loss of the ability of flight, and death.
The island of rubbish – the North Pacific Gyre
Believe it or not, but an island containing only rubbish like plastics and tin cans actually exist in the Pacific Ocean. The North Pacific Gyre, which is situated at a distance off the coast of California, is an island that is made up of floating plastic and metal wastes. The amount of wastes on that island is so high that it outnumbers all marine life in the vicinity six to one (6:1).
Over 100,000 aquatic animals die annually due to plastic ingestion
Every year, the death toll of aquatic mammals like whales, dolphins, and seals exceed the 100,000 marks. This is mainly due to the consumption of plastics found in the ocean, which they often consume unknowingly. Plastics cannot be broken down very easily by the digestive system of any animal, therefore being one of the most harmful substances in the ocean. Thousands of turtles often get entangled in plastics and die due to suffocation.
More microplastics in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way
Microplastics are the samlle4st particles of plastic that often break away from the main plastic body due to oceanic waves and currents. It is estimated that there are more than a trillion of microplastics in the ocean compared to the number of stars in the entire Milky Way Galaxy.
The ratio of the number of fish to plastics is increasing annually
In the early years of the 21st century, the ratio of plastics and other forms of rubbish and wastes in the oceans was estimated to be 1 is to 5. It means that for every five fishes in the ocean, there exists one plastic body or non-degradable waste product. While this is at alarming levels already, it has been calculated that by the middle of the 21st century during the 2050s, this ratio will become one is to one.
The number of poisoned fish in the ocean is increasing
Oil spills and other forms of chemical spills in the ocean are increasing day by day. The surface of the ocean waters is getting engulfed by oils and other spills of toxic chemicals. It is the fish that fall prey to these spills, as they end up consuming these oils and chemicals. This has led to an anomaly of fish mutations, which has also been increasing every year. These smaller fish get consumed by the larger fishes found in the oceans, which leads to digestive poisoning of them as well. These fishes are also consumed by us, which has developed into an international threat, as mankind continues to feed on poisoned fishes.