Earth consists of multiple ecosystems. Every balanced ecosystem ensures the stability of the environment and its organisms. Every living organism is affected due to the disruption caused by external factors. There are many ecosystems present in the ocean. Each ocean plays a vital role in regulating the climate of Earth.
We depend on the oceans to absorb the excessive CO2 (carbon dioxide) from our environment and produce almost 50% of the oxygen that we inhale.
Ocean plastic pollution is as real as global warming. Most of the aquatic life suffers due to plastic present in the ocean. Approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our seas and oceans every year. Marine life consumes small pieces of plastic that can cause difficulty in breathing or chemical poisoning. On the other hand, birds such as Albatross and Petrel are tube-nosed, and they cover thousands of kilometres to find food for years. Currently, these species are in danger of extinction.
The amount of plastic waste has dumped into the oceans is in an alarming situation. Approximately 80% of plastic pollution in our waters is from the land. The negligence of people plays a vital role in the increase in pollution. Most of the plastic comes from our households because of inadequate waste management, and the other waste ends up in the oceans by rainfall. If all the plastic in the oceans is to be collected, the pile would be so huge that we can call it a continent.
Today it is significant for people to know how critical the situation of our oceans is. It is everyone's part to make others aware that even the slightest action can create a big difference. So, here are some facts that everyone should know about ocean plastic pollution.
- We produce over 380 million tonnes of plastic every year worldwide. Eight million tonnes of that portion comes from ocean plastic pollution.
- Almost one million plastic bags are thrown in the trash.
- Approximately 90% of the ocean's surface area is covered by plastic waste.
- More than 8 million plastic straws end up on the beaches in the World, and 1% of this proportion goes into the oceans.
- There is a big Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean which is more than 1.5 million square kilometres in size.
- There are approximately 270,000 tonnes of macro and microplastic combined in the ocean.
- Plastic consumed by seabirds is at an alarming rate. Almost 90% of seabirds found contain plastic in their stomach.
- More than 80% of the samples taken from drinking water contains plastic, which means we consume plastic while drinking.
- Plastic pollution causes the death of over 100,000 animals and 1 million sea birds annually.
- One of the biggest causes of plastic pollution is the plastic gear, that has dumped into the ocean. More than 600,000 tonnes of fishing gear is thrown in the oceans every year.
- Ghost gear consists of fishnets is a cause of death, because sea animals like dolphins, turtles and seals can easily get caught in the net.
- As a result of ocean plastic pollution, more than 700 species of animals are at the verge of extinction.
- Plastic resembles the natural prey of turtles that is a jellyfish. As a result of this, almost 50% of turtles worldwide eat plastic.
- 9% of plastic is recycled, 12% destroys, and 79% ends up in the dumping site or the ocean.
- A plastic bag has an average usage time of 15 minutes after that, it has thrown into trash bins.
- Production of plastic has drastically increased in the last decade as compared with the previous century.
- If we combine the number of micro and macro plastic in our oceans, it would be almost 76 trillion. That is 500 times more than the stars in our milky way.
- Cosmetic and body care products are the two prime sources of microplastic.
- The plastic bottles used by beverage companies are accounted for almost 15% of the plastic waste in the ocean.
- There are hundreds of dead zones in our oceans which are no longer capable of supporting life.
- 99% of the total waste in the ocean sinks at the bottom and the rest floats on the surface.
- Even the most remote places and uninhabited islands have found plastic on their beaches.
- Every minute amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean is the size of a garbage truck.
- 90% of the sea waste consists of plastic that stays in the ocean for hundreds of years.
- A plastic bag can take 20 to 1000 years to break down into smaller pieces.
- More than 2 out of 3 fish catches plastic and die out of breath.
- Ingesting microplastic can cause poisonous death because it contains toxic chemicals that affect reproduction and can cause diseases.
- The plastic releases toxins overtime that is acidifying the ocean at a sharp rate.
- The ships discards over 5 million pieces of plastic every day.
- China is responsible for 2240000 tonnes of plastic pollution, makes 28% of the total plastic that ends up in the ocean.
Cleaning up our beaches should be our first step, but it is not a permanent solution. We should be accountable for our actions. Making small Eco-friendly swaps to our lives will create an impact. It can only be possible if we manage the proper plastic disposal or avoid unnecessary use of plastic and re-use the plastic as much as you can. Another significant step is to spread awareness by educating our children. So, that in the future we might have control over the plastic pollution in our oceans.