The Long-Term Impact Of Plastic Pollution In The Oceans
Plastic Pollution in the oceans has definitely become the worst nightmare for our planet. It's one of the most crucial environmental issues and a global crisis for sure. At one point it can also be said that our planet right now is swimming with plastic junk which is harmful for aqua life and humans as well.
Plastics - global problem
Plastics play a major role in our day to day activities. So, What are these plastics made of?
Polymers are the primary component of a wide variety of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials known as plastics. Plastics can be molded, extruded, or pressed into solid objects of diverse shapes thanks to their plasticity. Everyone thinks that plastics take hundreds of years to decompose but recent research is showing that plastics cannot fully degrade but transform into tiny particles called Microplastics. The health of our world and all its inhabitants would suffer greatly as a result of microplastics, which are microscopic pieces of plastic that can be consumed by marine animals and end up in their bodies and tissues. Unfortunately, this also means that even the tiniest bit of plastic ever made still seems to exist.
Even though people are becoming more and more conscious of the dangers this substance poses to life, plastic pollution continues to be one of the main factors in the loss of marine species, health issues for both humans and animals, and the devastation of our ecosystems.
Let's look at some key facts of plastics pollution in oceans.
- 50% of the plastics produced till date are from the last fifteen years.
- From 2.3 million tonnes in 1950 to 448 million tones in 2015, production expanded dramatically. By 2050, production is anticipated to double.
- Approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic trash are lost into the oceans each year from coastal countries. That would be the same as covering every foot of coastline on the planet with five trash bags.
- Plastics frequently contain additives to make them more resilient, flexible, and strong. However, many of these compounds can lengthen the life of products if they wind up in waste; some estimates place the break-down time of these additives at least 400 years.
- At present, the ocean contains between 50 to 75 trillion bits of plastic and microplastics.
- According to research, plastic would probably weigh more than all fish in the water by the year 2050.
Causes Of Plastic Pollution in Oceans
One of the major cause of plastic pollution in oceans comes from land. Waste is brought to seas by big rivers, which operate as conveyor belts, scooping up more and more trash as they flow downstream. Once at sea, much of the plastic debris lingers in coastal seas. However, if caught up in ocean currents, it may be carried all over the planet.
- Disposing of Garbage
One of the main causes of plastic water pollution is the disposal of trash into the oceans or any other body of water. Because certain little particles of plastic are included in the waste that is being discarded, it poses a serious threat to both the water and the marine life, which is dwindling daily. The harmful bacteria found in trash being disposed of are the main cause of the decline in marine life. The majority of small marine animals become ill from these bacteria and die, which is another significant cause of plastic pollution in water.
The second type of issue that contributes to the polluting of water with plastic is fishing nets. Fishing nets are thrown into the sea to capture fish, and once they have been caught, people have a tendency to throw the net back into the water, where it is devoured by little marine animals and causes them to perish. Another important factor that is contributing to plastic water contamination. All of the nets used to catch fish are made of fibre, or occasionally the low-quality ones are made of plastic, and this is one of the main causes of the plastic water pollution that occurs and becomes worse every day.
An indirect cause of the rise in plastic water pollution is the discharge of hazardous chemicals into the environment, or just doing land contamination. People dump harmful chemicals into the soil, which mixes with contaminated water bodies and leads to the occurrence of incidents of localised water pollution.
Our nature also includes soil, and it is a very useful aspect of our nature. When something is dumped into arid land, the trash is gradually taken away by the soil and ends up in water bodies, where it begins to pollute the ocean. So this is another major reason for plastic water pollution.
Dumping Industrial waste into oceans
This argument effectively serves as a continuation of the prior point, where it was stated that plastic water pollution is brought on by people throwing trash into bodies of water. But another significant cause of plastic water pollution is the dumping of industrial waste.
The main cause of plastic water pollution is that individuals in industry have drainage systems or waste-going-out channels that are directly connected to the ocean. This immediately affects marine life and pollutes the entire ocean's water. Therefore, businesses must find alternatives to depositing their waste.
Over Reusing of Plastic
People are now highly knowledgeable about how to reuse plastic, which has also become a risk for the water bodies. Initially, plastic was not so easily recycled, but with time it began to be.
The double use of plastic and the disposal of all plastic in one go into water bodies are the things that need to be controlled before plastic water pollution can be stopped. Plastic pollution in water bodies is also caused by using this recycled plastic time by time again as the old one becomes new and the new one is also used ultimately.
Effects Of Plastic Pollution In Oceans - short term and long term
Although the amount of plastic produced and used today is still at an all-time high, only around 10% of that plastic is currently recycled. The remaining either winds up in our oceans and environment or is burned, polluting the air.
Marine life and ecosystems are severely impacted by plastic waste in the ocean. Every year, plastic kills millions of animals, including fish, birds, and other marine life. There are around 700 species known to have been impacted by plastics, including some that are endangered. Almost all types of seabirds consume plastic. And when that happens they suffer from various health issues like asphyxia, entanglement, laceration, infections, and internal injuries.
Floating plastic items can assist transfer of pest species, posing a hazard to aquatic ecosystems, bio - diversity, and the food chain. However, there are even more issues with plastic.
As we mentioned above in the article, microplastics are now present in all food sources, including salt, beer, water supplies, and the ground where our veggies are grown.
Plastics can disrupt our body's endocrine system and cause behavioral, cognitive, reproductive, and immunological issues. They are also carcinogenic. Toxins that frequently buildup on plastic's surface and are then ingested by people via seafood provide another health risk.
Also, Climate change can be referred to as the second side of the coin with plastic pollution as the first. Since fossil fuels are used to manufacture plastic, which has a significant effect on global warming and climate adversities.
Why Preventing Plastic Pollution is Important?
Each and every living creature on earth is affected by plastic pollution in oceans which include threats to the well-being of the ocean, aquatic life, food hygiene, people's health, coastal tourism, and global warming.
As we work to deal with climate change and develop a more sustainable environment, reducing the amount of plastic in our seas will not only help us conserve marine animals and habitats but also enhance our own health and the ecosystem as a whole.
How to Control Plastic Pollution in Oceans?
Reduce the usage of single-use plastics
Using plastic that can only be used once is also harmful to water bodies and contributes to plastic water pollution. We must use recyclable plastics that can be reused and recycled. However, excessive use of recyclable plastics is also harmful to the environment.
As the recycled plastic sits in the water with the new plastic dumped into it, they take a long time to decompose and thus cause more and more water pollution, resulting in plastic water pollution in large bodies of water. So if we use the recyclable plastic then this may turn out to be the precaution to control plastic water pollution.
Stop the production of plastic
This is yet another fantastic initiative by our government to halt the production of plastic. As previously stated, quality plastic can be recycled; however, excessive use of recycled plastic is also hazardous, as is the plastic itself. As a result, it will reduce plastic pollution in bodies of water.
This is our second point to mention the precautions of how we can control the production of plastic. In short, we must stop producing plastic and stop dumping it into large bodies of water.
Spread the awareness of the plastic water pollution
So this is the most important point in terms of plastic water pollution controllables. We need to educate people about the importance of not using plastic in their daily lives and to look for alternatives. Paper covers 0r cloth bags, for example, can be used instead of plastic covers, and paper-based medicinal pouches can also be used.
Eat organic food
Most working people cannot implement this point, but we are writing it so that people can understand how eating at home helps to control plastic water pollution.
For example, most working people avoid eating at home and instead eat their lunch outside, but this causes plastic water pollution. For example, when you have a meal in a hotel, they place a plastic paper on the plate first, then serve the food; similarly, when we drink juice, we use a straw, which is also made of plastic, and all of this contributes to plastic water pollution.
There are also many other minor points to consider in order to reduce plastic water pollution, including:
As an example, having organic company's food
Purifying water before drinking it
Having home cooked meals, and so on.
Recycling plastic wastes
Recycling plastic waste is also critical to addressing the issue of plastic water pollution. When we recycle plastic and make good useful products out of it, we reduce plastic water pollution and do not harm our natural surroundings.
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The article's overall conclusion is that we simply want people to understand why plastic pollution in oceans must be stopped and how we can do so. All of the information provided above is written to the best of our ability, and if there are any changes, they will be updated on a regular basis.
So, if you truly want to save our marine life and, ultimately, ourselves, remember that all of the problems we cause are indirectly related to us and will harm our lives.
The final words we can say are don't just keep this knowledge to yourself, but make it go viral by sharing it with others, because this is a serious issue that is raising its bar every day and may directly affect our lives very soon.
Thank you for reading.