While we are throwing plastic without thinking, it’s the ocean and the marine life which is being directly affected. Billions of plastic items are choking the oceans, lakes, and rivers while new landfills are being created every time. Even our health is being affected as we continue to eat fishes & sea animals with Microplastic in their stomach.
Here are few of the facts on plastic inside the ocean
- Every year, there are over 8 million tons of plastic products being thrown away into the oceans. This includes 236k tons of tiny pieces of plastic called Microplastic which isn’t visible to the naked eye. A problem of plenty!
- Our oceans are the largest dumping ground on the planet. There are 5 enormous plastic patches or gyres created by us around the world which cover a large part of the oceans. And the one between California and Hawaii called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas
- One garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the oceans every minute
- By 2020, the amount of plastic present inside the oceans is set to increase tenfold
- With plastic being thrown into the oceans at a rapid pace it is estimated that by 2025 there will be more plastic than fishes in the ocean (by weight)
- Plastic is now found even in the most remote places on the Earth i.e. as far as 11 Km deep in the oceans
- Marine animals find it difficult to distinguish between common plastic items and food. They consume the plastic items and starve because plastic fills their stomach without getting digested. This prevents them from eating real food.
- Marine plastic damages the skin of coral reefs and increases its chances of becoming diseased from 4% to 89%, allowing infection. This is when coral reefs are considered home for more than 25% of marine animals.
- At the sea surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), there is more plastic than natural prey. This results in sea organisms feeding on plastic components as their diets. For example, sea turtles caught within the operating radius of GPGP have up to 745 of their diets composed of marine plastic
- Brown trout, cisco, perch or any other fish that humans consume have ingested plastic microfibers in their stomach at one time or another.
These are few of the many facts which suggest how plastic is degrading the planet and disturbing the marine life. The pace at which we are throwing away plastic into the oceans, the day is not far when we call it an “ocean of plastic.”
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Fight against plastic
The only way to prevent a plastic crisis is to adopt greener alternatives and there are plenty out there. For instance
- Use jute grocery bag in place of plastic carry bags
- Adopt stainless steel straws instead of plastic ones at the restaurant
- Replace plastic water bottles with glass ones and more
These small steps will go a long way in our fight against single-use plastic items. Doing our bit for the environment is now more important than ever because the plastic situation is getting out-of-hand. We must challenge our throwaway culture and prevent others from sending plastic put into the oceans.
Reduce, reuse and recycle; these are the three crucial steps that can help us prevent plastic pollution. And there are a number of plastic items disturbing the marine life as listed below:
- Bottled water – Water inside a plastic bottle just leaves a carbon footprint behind and nothing else. These bottles add up to the pile of plastic debris found inside the oceans floating on the sea surface.
- Plastic straws – Straws are smaller plastic products that even the recycler machines cannot recycle. So, these go straight into the oceans and stay there for eternity. Stainless steel straws can replace these straws.
- Plastic containers – Most food items are now delivered inside a plastic take-out container which only adds to the problems we are facing. Ask for a sustainable alternative instead!
- Plastic cutlery – Single-use plastic cutlery ingests BPA or other toxins to the food when they are heated. Try eco-friendly means such as edible cutlery and minimize the use of plastic products.
- Plastic Bags – Just say no to plastic bags whatever the case be. These bags add up to the landfills while blocking the drainage system in your area. There are alternatives such as jute cloth bag available in the market so you do not have to rely upon plastic bags.
Apart from these, there are other tiny pieces of plastic termed as Microplastic present in the oceans that are consumed by sea animals. These tiny pieces are not visible to the naked eye but are simply toxic.
Limit your usage of plastic material and start using greener alternatives to prevent plastic from taking over the oceans.