According to Greenpeace, “Solid materials, typically waste, that has found its way to the marine environment is called marine debris...Marine debris has become a pervasive pollution problem affecting all of the world’s oceans. It is known to be the cause of injuries and deaths of numerous marine animals and birds, either because they become entangled in it or they mistake it for prey and eat it. Plastic and synthetic materials are the most common types of marine debris and cause the most problems for marine animals and birds. At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales and fish. The scale of contamination of the marine environment by plastic debris is vast. It is found floating in all the world’s oceans, everywhere from polar regions to the equator...Plastic is also ubiquitous on beaches everywhere from populous regions to the shores of very remote uninhabited islands.” So really, the problem is real, and it has serious consequences.
According to Greenpeace, “It has been estimated that around 80% of marine debris is from land-based sources and the remaining 20% is from ocean based sources.” Considering the fact that frankly many corporations tend to dump their excess industrial plastic into the ocean, there is no surprise in hearing the percentage of land-based plastics. However, lax regulations and irresponsible behaviors of corporations should not go unaddressed.
One of the ways plastic affects the ocean environment is through entanglement. According to Greenpeace, “Entanglement rates in these animals of up to 7.9% of a population have been recorded.” A significant number that certainly cannot be ignored, taking into account the fact that a number of these inflicted animals are also subject to dangers of extinction. Debris floating in the ocean can cause “drowning, suffocation, strangulation, starvation through reduced feeding efficiency, and injuries” reports Greenpeace. Cognizant of these noticeably high entanglement rates, environmentalists are predicting an impending danger that plastic debris pose on the marine ecology.
Another way debris violates the ocean environment is through injestion. Greenpeace reports, “Studies have shown that a high proportion (about 50 to 80%) of sea turtles found dead are known to have ingested marine debris.” Also for seabirds, “111 out of 312 species are known to have ingested debris and it can affect a large percentage of a population (up to 80%)” The number is beyond appalling. Several more marine species mistake plastic for a prey and consume it, not knowing they are digging their own grave. This is a pretty sad news, and a bad one too.
So, all in all, plastic is a nonorganic existence that kills organic existence. All human beings, the mastermind behind this massacre, either as the creator or the consumer, should be cognizant of the fact that WE, are the causes of the environment’s downfall and that WE are responsible for the turtle and the seabirds’ death. Plastic excess should be eliminated from the face of the planet, and this project is the first step to accomplishing it.