Plastic may end up abandoned due to the action of storms, or simply because they have not been adequately disposed of. Thus they can reach rivers or other waterways and even in the sewage system of urban areas.
The final destination for the plastic will be the sea, no matter how far we are from the coast. In this article, you can read about plastic in the ocean facts in detail.
Seas Are Not The Dumping Grounds:
Plastic objects can also reach the sea from landfills, by mean of water flowing through them. In addition, we also find plastics in the sea that come from deliberate dumping of garbage, from accidental spills from ships.
Another source of plastic in the ocean is from effluents from sewage treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants. However, 80% of the waste found in the sea comes from land, while the remaining 20% of maritime activity.
Because plastic is very persistent and easily dispersed, we can find plastics in every corner of the planet, from the Arctic to Antarctica. Once the plastic objects reach the sea, they can be ingested by marine fauna and accumulate inside.
However, they can remain in suspension or floating on the surface; they can finally sink and remain on the seabed. They can even get caught in the ice of the Arctic. Plastics already found even in the deepest areas, more than 10,000 meters deep.
What Effect Does Plastic Have On The Ocean?
The ocean belongs to us all and, although man has not yet explored 95 % of this underwater kingdom, we depend on it more than we believe. 60% of human protein sources come from the sea and are the basis of an economic activity that generates at least 2.5 billion dollars a year. They are essential to regulate the climate, among other benefits.
The fishing activity generates more than 260 million jobs. Precisely, 50% of fishing is a significant work activity where people have no other means of income. In fact, fishing and aquaculture is the livelihood of 12% of the world’s population.
It is the habitat of fundamental species for the natural chain of which the human being is also part. According to an investigation of the Higher Council of Scientific Research, there are more than 700,000 marine species. In addition, it absorbs heat and CO2 and moves air masses that define temperatures and humidity.
There is no doubt that the ocean sustains life on earth. If you think about vacations, it is crucial to keep in mind: 80% of the tourism in the world- done near the sea. So why are we filling it with plastic? According to the United Nations, 13 million tons of waste of this material reaches the seas of the world, which is equivalent to throwing a truck full of plastic every minute on them!
The containers and products made of this material that is in the seas today can surround the Earth four times in a single year. Figures like this should be enough to alert us to produce changes in our everyday habits of using and disposing of plastic. And it is that human beings cause 80 % of the pollution in this ecosystem.
In the most recent edition of the National Geographic Magazine, you can see a plastic bag that looks like an iceberg with a question that would seem very simple to answer: Planet or plastic? The publication points to the world drowning in this material and presenting impressive figures. Such as 44% of all the plastic produced in history has been manufactured since 2000.
The United Nations, meanwhile, concentrated its efforts on the celebration of world days, such as World Environment Day on June 5 and World Ocean Day, to make people aware of this problem that needs an immediate solution and considerable outcome, especially.
All such adverse effects of plastic directly or indirectly harm more than 700 varied animal species. In fact, some are now even in the list of endangered and more are critically in the scenario of extinction. Sea turtles are the ones that have suffered most because of this waste in their habitat and estimated that 52% had ingested this type of waste. On YouTube, there is a video that shows a biologist while removing a plastic cigarette from a turtle’s nose.
According to the National Geographic report, one of the most worrying situations is that many species consume plastic by confusing it with food. ” Anchovies, for example, eat it because it smells like food once it has come into contact with algae,” as described by marine biologist Matthew Savoca in the publication.
The first documented cases of species affected by plastic are from 1994, of some seabirds in the Pacific. Since then, the cases have only been increasing. Although it seems that much progress has been made in legislation on the use and production of this material.
As a consumer, you have a lot to do
Put these tips into practice, so you don’t continue to be part of the problem and join those who are looking for solutions. The best way to prevent ocean pollution is to stop with plastic.
- Do not use plastic bags to make your purchases, and there are always better options: baskets, cloth bags, or cardboard boxes.
- It is easy to replace plastic bottles, always carry a thermos or reusable container with you.
- If you are on vacation, do not litter on the beaches, just collect the trash you produced in some box, poly-bag, etc. and hold it in your hand if there are no Canecas Dustbin nearby.
- Did you know that 50% of the plastic is disposable or disposable? So if you must use plastic, recycle and reuse it as many times as you can.