How Does Plastic In The Ocean Affect Humans – Beaches are often the most beautiful places on earth. They are home to millions of animal species, influence the climate, and support many people with food. Our oceans are amazing natural resources that are unfortunately vulnerable to plastic pollution every year.
Learn more about the impact of plastic on marine life and what you can do to prevent harmful plastic pollution.
- 1 How Does Plastic In The Ocean Affect Humans
- 2 Ocean Pollution And Marine Debris
- 2.1 Plastic Pollution And How It Affects Countries
- 2.2 How Do We Clean Up All That Ocean Plastic?
- 3 Pathogens Can Hitch A Ride On Plastic To Reach The Sea
How Does Plastic In The Ocean Affect Humans
It’s safe to say you probably won’t be sorting your plastic into specific containers to bring to the nearest beach and surf. Although you can recycle whenever possible by sending your waste to the nearest recycling plant, plastic can still end up in the ocean and harm wildlife.
What Is The Effect Of Ocean Plastics On Marine Life?
Wind and rainwater carry waste to the sea via sewers and roads. Anything you flush down the toilet, such as cotton balls or toiletries, can end up in the ocean. Experts estimate that 300 million plastic bags end up in the Atlantic Ocean alone each year, all because people throw away recyclables, disposable plastic or trash.
Many people think of plastic cups or straws floating in the waves and imagine sea creatures floating in the unknown. The truth is that plastic affects wildlife in many important ways.
Marine animals are always hunting for food. When fish or sea turtles see a piece of floating plastic that can catch sunlight or glow with bright colors, they may swallow it whole, mistaking it for food. In the North Pacific, sloth albatross feed their chicks 5 tons of plastic per year, causing many albatrosses to die young because they cannot digest the plastic they thought was food.
Every time wildlife dies from plastic pollution, it puts the entire food and reproductive chain of the species at risk. As a result, many marine species will be endangered or threatened with extinction as more plastic fills the oceans if current pollution trends continue.
Ocean Pollution And Marine Debris
Plastic can harm marine life by getting caught in nets, fishing lines and other single-use plastics. Rings of soda bottles can wrap around a sea turtle’s neck and arms, preventing it from swimming away from predators. A Tokyo scientist found a piece of plastic waste every three minutes when he and his team crossed the ocean. As plastic washes into vast mounds in currents, it becomes a major threat to capture and kill the animals that support the world’s food chain and ecosystem.
Microplastics are particularly harmful to marine life that depends on small amounts of food. Coral reefs protect coastal areas from erosion and support many species of marine life. When plastic pollution breaks down into microplastics, coral polyps eat the microplastics and die or sicken the surrounding reef.
Large pieces of plastic can collide with corals and cause scratching, increasing the chance of bacterial infection. Without corals, many marine animals will lose their homes and access to their primary food sources. Communities that depend on these marine based fish for food may struggle to meet their fishing needs.
2. Reduce your use of plastic where possible, such as swapping plastic toothbrushes for bamboo or plastic bags for silicone bags.
Reasons You Should Care About Our Ocean
3. You can volunteer with local clean-up groups that collect trash from rivers and beaches. Each piece of plastic that humans throw into the water is less of a threat to the many marine creatures that suffer from this ongoing pollution.
Plastic grocery bags, takeout boxes, cutlery and other single-use plastics may seem harmless, but they can cause serious environmental damage after they become useless and are thrown away. Now that you know more about the impact of plastic on marine life, you can make strategic and informed choices to reduce your waste and make the world a healthier place for people and marine life.
Jane is the editor-in-chief and founder of Environment.co. He is passionate about helping people understand the importance of sustainability and the steps that can be taken to live a green life.
Sea Going Green works with clients in the marine tourism industry to measure and reduce their environmental footprint, including the use of single-use plastics by replacing them with the latest sustainable practices. Marine litter is a common pollution problem in oceans and waterways around the world. Plastic waste is one of the biggest threats to ocean health.
Plastic Pollution And How It Affects Countries
Up to 90% of the litter that floats in the ocean and litters our shores is plastic. Plastics can harm wildlife, damage coastal areas, affect local economies and even threaten human health.
Even if you don’t live near the coast, your plastic waste can still find its way into the ocean. A plastic water bottle blown down the street can travel down storm drains, into rivers and streams, and into the ocean.
There are different types and sizes of plastic waste that we buy and use ourselves, including single-use water bottles, plastic grocery bags, fishing nets, fishing lines, plastic cups and lids, packaging, balloons and airplanes. In the marine environment, this type of debris can harm wildlife when animals mistake plastic for food or accidentally become entangled in plastic that litters our beaches or swims in the ocean.
Plastic does not decompose. Instead, when released into the environment, it breaks down into smaller pieces the longer it is exposed to the sun; a process called photodegradation. All plastic particles with a diameter of less than 5 mm are classified as microplastics. Although these pieces of plastic are small, they can have a big impact on the health of the ocean.
Microplastics Found In Humans: What Does It Mean For Our Health?
Some microplastics start small and end up in the ocean. Microbeads were used in products such as facial scrubs and scrubs; In 2015, however, microbeads were outlawed under state law.
Even clothes throw away microplastics. These “microfibers” are the result of washing polyester, viscose and other synthetic fabrics. In a recent study, microfibers accounted for 97% of all microplastics found in beach sand in national parks. Although wastewater treatment plants filter out most of the microfibers, some still pass through their systems and end up in our waterways and oceans.
Plastic poses a serious threat to our oceans and waterways. Birds, turtles, fish and other marine life swallow pieces of plastic, mistaking them for fish eggs, plankton, jellyfish or other food sources. Every year, hundreds of thousands of marine life, large and small, die from problems related to plastic waste – they can have stomachs full of plastic they can’t digest or become trapped in the waste.
Harmful chemical contaminants can attach to plastics and increase the toxicity of plastic waste used by animals. The risks to human health from microplastics in seafood are currently being assessed.
Grappling With The Biggest Marine Plastic Spill In History
Although the dangers of plastic may seem overwhelming, individual actions can make a big difference! Be part of the solution! Here’s how: Plastic has become an integral part of our daily lives. From furniture to grocery bags, vehicle parts to toys, plastic is an unavoidable commodity that comes in many forms. According to studies, a single piece of plastic can absorb a million times more toxic chemicals than the surrounding water.
It is estimated that around the world people throw away about four million tons of waste every day, 12.8% of which is plastic, polluting the land, air and water.
While plastic dumped in landfills contaminates soil and groundwater with harmful chemicals and microorganisms, the marine pollution caused by plastic is immeasurable.
As on land, the effects of plastic on marine life are also beginning to be felt in marine environments. Studies show that about 10 million tons of plastic waste washes into the ocean every year.
How Do We Clean Up All That Ocean Plastic?
The United Nations Environment Program estimates that there are already 51 billion microplastic particles in the ocean.
While some marine plastic litter does end up on land, mainly due to poor waste management, ships and offshore oil and gas platforms also contribute.
Recently, when looking at plastic entering the sea, it has become necessary to take all measures to fight this problem by understanding the effects of plastic in the sea.
But before this can be done, the effects of plastic in the sea must be understood, which is necessary to implement more reasonable conservation measures.
Linda Thompson Gonzalez: Plastics Harming More Than Marine Life
Of all the threats to the marine environment, the threat posed by plastic is one of the most serious.
Marine debris—plastic—endangers the ecosystem of marine life. This disrupts the entire biogeocycle, causing unnecessary problems in the marine ecosystem. Plastic released from microfibers and washable products and cosmetics such as face wash and toothpaste are also very harmful to aquatic life and animals.
Plastic threatens the existence of underwater life in many ways, from small fish to large mammals and amphibians. About 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are said to have died from ingesting plastic. Unfortunately, many marine species are on the verge of extinction due to such marine pollution.
The consumption of plastic by marine animals causes serious digestive problems, mostly untreated. Many marine animals
Pathogens Can Hitch A Ride On Plastic To Reach The Sea
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