The ocean is a beautiful part of our planet, and it’s a large portion of it too. The planet is 90% water. The ocean is more than just a big part of our planet geographically, but the clouds, the seas creatures, and even the air we breath is all affected by the ocean. This means that it’s imperative, that we treat our ocean with respect, care, and (not to sound to cheesy) with love. Unfortunately, we humans have taken this ocean (and planet for that fact, but that’s a topic for another time) for granted.
The ocean, as beautiful as it is, has been infected by a virus. This virus is spreading and moving faster than a rabbit running from a hound, and it will continue to spread unless people, corporations, and countries begin to do something about it. This virus is something everyone is aware of: plastic.
WARNING! Some of the pictures may be disturbing!
How Plastic is Affecting The Planet
Currently, over 300 tons of plastic, is created every year. By the year 2050, the population of the world will be around 10 billion, and researchers are expecting this production rate to increase to 900 tons of plastic a year. By this point, the ocean could be 50% fish and 50% plastic. This is horrifying.
Plastic, with PET, is arguably the worse substance ever created by man. It’s a cheap source of material, but it’s inability to decompose has left almost every piece of plastic (made with PET) ever made, still on the planet. This means we have islands, made of plastic. They float around our ocean like a tumor.
Unlike most material in our ocean, plastic with PET will not decompose. It doesn’t break down like other materials. In a decomposing process, over a certain amount of time, the material will break down and will become fertilizer for the earth, but this is not the case for this plastic. Instead it remains untouched, and bugs, birds, and any other types of animal can’t break it down. They can eat the plastic, but they won’t be able to break it down. This results in plastic killing thousands of animals.
One of the many ways that plastic is infecting our planet/ocean is the wildlife that lives in it. Just like I said before, thousands of animals are dying every year because they unknowingly eat the plastic, not knowing what it really is. A report says that 90% of the seagulls on the planet, have eaten plastic at some point in their lives.
Dr. Jennifer Lavers is a Marine Scientist, who monitors all types of birds. She’s devoted her life to the study of the birds and how plastic is affecting them. I watched her dissect a bird that she found dead on the shoreline.
As she opened the birds stomach, several pieces of plastic, were found. The creature had eaten so much plastic, that it had killed the bird. Unlike most things the bird had eaten, this plastic wouldn’t digest properly, and it killed the bird. That bird had 236 pieces of plastic in its stomach, and several were over an inch long. The record for this species was 276 pieces of plastic for a 90 day old chick.
It’s not just birds that are being affected, but whales, dolphins, and other animals are being found dead, with their bellies full of plastic.
What Can We Do to Help?
Several companies are devoting time and effort to figure out away to destroy this type of plastic, but until they figure it out, what can we do?
Well, we support companies, who’s efforts are to clean, recycle, and to figure how to destroy this plastic. Companies like 4Ocean, are dedicated to cleaning up our ocean, and to help the environment. They recycle the plastic they clean up and use it to create bracelets that were made from the recycled plastic. When you buy these bracelets, you’re supporting the 4Ocean team.
Another way to help is to use reusable bags, and to recycle the plastic bags that you already have. These plastic bags I’m talking about are your local Walmart bags. These bags are sometimes recyclable depending on your neighborhood. You’re curbside recycle crew, may not be able to recycle the bags. I don’t know about companies like Kroger or Target, but you can give Walmart your plastic bags, and they’ll recycle them for further use. But if you can, try to use your reusable bags.
Another way you can help is by moving to Rwanda! I’m kidding! But one thing you should know, is that Rwanda is one of the few countries to have banned plastic bags. They don’t allow those types of bags to be used there. This helps maintain the flow of plastic in that country.
The ocean is a wonderful place, and it deserves to be treated with respect and care. Right now, every minute of everyday, there’s so much trash going into the ocean, that it’s equivalent to a garbage truck dumping a load of garbage into the ocean. That’s how bad it is right now!
But the situation is far from dire. If we recycle, stop using plastic materials, and start using plastic that will decompose we can stop this epidemic before it gets out of hand. Remember, using reusable bags, water bottles, and more will only help the environment.
No matter what you do or don’t do, the fact is that our ocean is being polluted and our planet is slowly falling apart. It’s up to people like me and you to do something about it because if we don’t, who will? For more information about this topic check out the UN Declares War On Plastic website!