The issue:

Oceans cover most of the world. Why are humanity destroying a resource we rely on so much. It is vital that people are informed about. The build-up of the plastic in the ocean. It is not only affecting the animal which live there it is affecting us as well. It has been estimated that around 80% of marine debris is from land-based sources and the remaining 20% is from ocean based sources plastic pollution involves the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans. Many types and forms of plastic pollution exist. Plastic pollution can adversely affect lands, waterways and oceans.

Our use of plastic bags has grown from pretty much zero, to over five hundred billion plastic bags every year (almost 1 million per minute!) In just 25 years. What if those figures doubled in 50 years 2 million per minute? How long would it take to get out of control?

Every year, thousands of sea animals such as birds, sea turtles, fish, die because they mistake plastic bags as food. Many of which are endangered species. Extinction may be closer to some of your favourite animals in your life time. China, ireland, australia, bangladesh and some other countries have already banned, or at least restricted plastic bags somehow. Shouldn’t all countries do this?

The growing problem

The build-up of the plastic in the ocean is not only affecting the animal which live there it is affecting us as well.  In some areas of the ocean the plastic and plankton ratio is six to one. This is destroying marine life in these areas making zones of inhabitable ocean.  

The plastic soup that consists mainly of plastic bottles and bottle caps, plastic back and everything that the world throws away. Over the next ten years, the plastic soup could double in size. At this speed, the plastic grows as much as 8 football fields every second. In some areas of the ocean the plastic and plankton ratio is six to one. This is destroying marine life in these areas making zones of inhabitable ocean.  

Effects of pollution:

The plastic in the ocean is getting absorbed by the wild life and works its way through the food chain. The chemicals in the plastic messes with hormones, not only of the wild life but of all us as well. Resent study in japan shows that women who have absorbed the plastic chemicals in them are constantly having miscarriages.    It has been estimated that over 400,000 marine mammals perish annually due to plastic pollution in oceans. In 2004, it was estimated that seagulls in the north sea had an average of thirty pieces of plastic in their stomachs.

What is needed? –

There are a number of global, international and national initiatives in place that are aimed at protecting the oceans from marine debris. The most far reaching of these is the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships (marpol). Annex v of marpol was introduced in 1988 with the intention of banning the dumping of most garbage and all plastic materials from ships at sea. A total of 122 countries have ratified the treaty. But is it enough? Can it be controlled?

An 18 year old has developed an ocean clean-up array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling. We need not as a country. But as part of the same planet to all invest in new ways to clean the planet we live on.

Outcome:

If we reduced plastic pollution oceans would gradually get cleaner wildlife would gradually repopulate the dead areas of ocean.  The food chain would in time level itself back out then the whole plastic pollution crisis would be more manageable.

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