Question: What effects will we see in the future if plastic pollution in our oceans does not stop?
Plastic Pollution has become a global issue in our oceans. Although we hear about this from time to time the problem has grown tremendously beyond our knowledge. There are a growing number of animals dying each day due to plastic particles that either get stuck around their head, or that they swallow. If we do not stop plastic pollution in our oceans the ocean will eventually lose its habitats and our ecosystem will be changed forever. Introduction
Plastic pollution is an ever-growing environmental concern. Plastic debris are a choking and an extensive barrier to wild life. Take out cups from Starbucks, plastic spoons, bottle caps, and disposable milk jugs are all examples of plastic pollution that we may use on a weekly or even a daily basis. Plastic pollution is one of the most important problems that we have in our oceans because plastic is not biodegradable, it does not break down so it never really goes away. What will be the effects of plastic pollution in the future if this problem does not stop? Will just animals be at risk for harm? My prediction is that if we do not stop littering and we do not start recycling, there might be animal extinction on the rise or the human race will be in harms way. METHODS
In order for me to find information for this paper on plastic pollution in our oceans I went on Neumann’s database as provided by my instructor. I typed in key words to find helpful articles, for example: “pollution” “ocean” and “plastic”. After typing in these key words I searched for articles related to my topic that would give me the most information. By looking at each articles summary and also the date that the article was written I slimmed down my options and found the remaining that most applied to my topic. I also asked my family what they think we can do to stop plastic pollution, and this helped me put together my recommendations to how to solve the problem at hand. RESULTS
Research shows that in the United States, 25 billion pounds of plastic go unaccounted for each year (Doucette, para. 8). Where does it go? Where does a relatively indestructible material go in a finite world? “Except for a small amount that’s been incinerated, every bit of plastic we’ve put in the oceans still remains,” says Anthony Andrady, a leading research scientist who specializes in plastics. “It’s still somewhere in the marine environment.” (Doucette, para. 8) Said by The United Nations Environment Program, it is estimated that plastic debris kills more than 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds every year (Doucette, para. 9). Between 1970 and 2003, plastics became the fastest growing segment of the US municipal waste stream, increasing nine-fold, and marine litter is now 60–80% plastic, reaching 90–95% in some areas (Moore, para. 1). The author of “A rapidly increasing, long-term threat” says that sea turtles, seagulls and in all, 267 species of marine organisms worldwide are known to have been affected by plastic debris, a number that will increase as smaller organisms are assessed (Moore, para. 1). “Plastic is not just an aesthetic problem,” says marine biologist David Barnes of the British Antarctic Survey. “It can actually change entire ecosystems.” (Hayden, para. 3). Also Barnes documents the largest pieces of plastic–miles-long discarded fishing nets and lines take an obvious toll. These “ghost nets” snare and drown thousands of seals, sea lions, and dolphins a year. Researchers have also watched in horror as hungry turtle’s wolf down jellyfish like plastic bags and seabirds mistake old lighters and toothbrushes for fish, choking when they try to regurgitate the trash for their starving chicks (Hayden, para. 4).
While reading these articles there were many results found about how plastic pollution is affecting our world today. Plastic is the worst form of pollution because it is not biodegradable, therefore the plastic in our ocean is always going to be there. It was said in that our ocean is becoming one big “wasteland”. The affects that plastic pollution in our oceans have
on our future is very simple; the animal deaths will greatly increase, ocean floors will be destroyed, the wildlife of sea animals will greatly change. In my research I found that 25 billion plastic products are not being recycled each year. If plastic is not biodegradable and its 25 billion each year, imagine how much plastic pollution will be in our oceans 10 years from now!
If we do not stop plastic pollution in our oceans the ocean will eventually lose its habitat and our ecosystem will be changed forever. Not only will plastic pollution hurt animals, damage our oceans waters, and change our ecosystem but it also can have a great effect on the human race as well. Plastic is not biodegradable so when a little particle gets eaten by let’s say a fish, we (the humans) catch, kill and eat the fish and these tiny particles may still be inside of the fish that we are eating. This shows that the whole food-chain is effected by plastic pollution, and not just animals. Although people know about how bad plastic pollution is, the problem is still occurring. If everyone just took one second to recycle it will save so many animals lives as well as keeping our own safe. Working together is the key to a greater future, showing as many people as possible the long term effects that this problem may have on us is one great first step to make.
Doucette, K. (2009). AN OCEAN OF PLASTIC. Rolling Stone, (1090), 54-57. Moore, C. (2008). Synthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long-term threat. Environmental Research, 108(2), 131-139. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.025 Hayden, T. (2002). Trashing the Oceans. U.S. News ; World Report, 133(17), 58.