Plastic has taken over the ocean and large bodies of water. Pollution in the ocean has been something that we have been battling for a long time and no one seems to want to change. In the article Plastic Pollution written by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser they state, “ Overall, approximately 80 percent of ocean plastics come from land-based sources.”As humans on this planet we create waste but we can manage the waste we make by changing our lifestyles. Ritchie says,”an estimated 10,000s to 100,000s tonnes of plastics are in the ocean surface waters” (Hannah and Max). Marine Pollution is destroying our oceans and we need to change our lifestyles to reduce the amount of plastic and its harmful effect on the ocean.
At a global level the plastic in our oceans comes from two main sources Land based and Marine based(Hannah and Max ). The first step to beginning the reduction of plastic in our beautiful oceans is reducing our use of single use plastics. “Approximately 80 percent of ocean plastics come from land-based sources, and the remaining 20 percent from marine sources”(Hannah and Max). There are thousands of different items that we use daily and toss in the trash without thinking twice about where it will end up. Eliminating small items like bottles, straws, bags, and other single use plastic items can make an impact on what is entering the ocean. Our marine life takes the biggest hit when it comes to trash in the ocean. Entanglement is the biggest effect these animals run into (Hannah and Max). As stated in the article Plastic Pollution ,” Entanglements most commonly involve plastic rope and netting and abandoned fishing gear”(Hannah and Max). The plastic in the ocean not only affects us, it affects the animals and life in the ocean. We can reduce the cases of entanglement or ingestion buy limiting our single plastic use.
Children and adults now need to be educated on the direct effect plastic is making on our oceans. As people on this planet it is our job to protect it the ocean and help reduce the amount of plastic that goes in. As stated in the article ,”The Pollution of the Marine Environment by Plastic Debris: a Review suggests,” Youngsters can not only change habits with relative ease, but also be able to take their awareness into their families and the wider community, working as a catalyst for change”(The Pollution…). Bringing awareness to the public can benefit highly, it will show people that what they are doing is affecting the planet negatively. Educating the public on the correct way to recycle their items can benefit the amount of waste that can be used for other purposes. Many people don’t know or get confused where to throw certain of their items so they end up contaminating the good recyclables.
Regulation on littering plastic needs to be enforced more and taken more seriously. When people are dumping items or littering in the ocean the repercussions have to be greater than they currently are. “In California the punishment for first-time littering starts at a $100 fine and eight hours of picking up roadside litter” (Litter in the United States). This rule seems to be ineffective since there are still tonnes of plastic waste entering the ocean. A higher fine and longer hours picking up trash could be more effective, also the money that is fined can be put back into organizations that clean up the ocean. With actions like these taking place the reduction of plastic can he highly reduced.
Corporations create tons of waste and do not end up disposing of it properly. Companies can make small changes in their packaging and products such as using biodegradable packaging for easier disposal . In the book Pollution Prevention Problems and Solutions , the author Louis Theodore state that the best thing we can do to prevent pollution is , “ source reduction reduces the amount of waste generated ; it is therefore considered true pollution prevention and had the highest priority in the EPA hierarchy.” This means that we need to get to the source of what is creating the most waste and manage it. Whether it is standing up to large corporations or demanding that they think about the environment as well.
The ocean is an important resource to our planet, it provides oxygen and food. Its resources are depleting fast and trash is piling up in the ocean killing our marine life. By implementing a few lifestyle changes we can reduce the amount of waste that makes its way into the ocean. Even just small changes can make a big impact on the world. As inhabitants on earth we must respect what it has to offer for us and begin taking steps in resolving all the mistakes we as a society have made in the past.
“Litter in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Litter_in_the_United_States.
Ritchie, Hannah, and Max Roser. “Plastic Pollution.” Our World in Data, 1 Sept. 2018, ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution.
“The Pollution of the Marine Environment by Plastic Debris: a Review.” Marine Pollution Bulletin, Pergamon, 28 Aug. 2002, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X02002205.
Theodore, Louis. Pollution Prevention: Problems and Solutions. Gordon & Breach, 1994.