Oceans provide a home for millions of species on Earth, and it is essential for human life. Unfortunately, while many species depend on the ocean for its ability to create food and oxygen, human activities can negatively impact the ocean and its wildlife.
Plastic is a versatile, light weighted, flexible, moisture, strong and relatively in-expensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has a combination of lethal nature.
The presence of plastic pollution debris is a serious threat to freshwater and marine ecology. Tiny particles of plastic debris (often called microplastics) are so pervasive in the aquatic ecosystem that we find them in seafood and table salt. Marine organisms ingest or are entangled by plastic, sometimes with fatal consequence. Plastic pollution may impact biodiversity, ecosystem services, food security and human health. Despite the ubiquity of plastic pollution, stemming it, is not an adreadful task to address.
Plastic pollution is poisoning a serious threat to marine life and its ecosystem. The issue of plastic pollution along Pakistan’s coast is a major concern and is worsening due to its inadequate solid waste disposal system. Most of the plastic that enters the sea become a serious threat to marine life due to their non-degradable nature.
It is estimated that about eight million tons of plastic are deliberately dumped in the sea globally and finds its way there through winds or flow of the river and urban run-off. This is approximately equivalent to the dumbing of a garbage truck into the marine water every minute.
A study conducted by Dutch researchers on marine life in the North Sea reported that the local seagull population has ingested so much plastic, that an average of 30 plastic pieces could be found in one seagull’s stomach.
On every simple walk on any beach, the plastic waste spectacle is present. All over the world the statistics are ever growing and staggering.
In the ocean, plastic debris injures and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. The impacts include fatalities as a result of ingestion, starvation, suffocation, infection, drowning, and entanglement.
Seabirds that feed on the ocean surface are especially prone to ingesting plastic debris that floats. Adults feed these items to their chicks resulting in detrimental effects on chick growth and survival. One study found that approximately 98% of chicks sampled contained plastic and the quantity of plastic being ingested was increasing over time.
Preventing the generation of disposable products as much as possible reduces the amount of money needed for controlling and managing trash and litter. Prevention is both cost-effective and better for the environment.
An estimated one hundred million metric tons of plastic are present in the Earth’s oceans. If one plastic bag can bring down birds and fish, imagine the consequences of this number. The effects of plastic on marine life are so devastating, soon the planet’s sea animals and birds will end up as nothing but statistics. Species will slowly become endangered and then extinct. Keep our oceans clean. Try substituting plastic with paper or recyclable products. Reduce, reuse and recycle before it is too late for the Earth’s oceans.