Plastic pollution in the ocean is a big issue in today’s society. Soon there will be a time when we can’t reverse our actions and it could be the end of all of our ocean systems and it will also damage land environments. 10 million tons of plastic are dispersed into our oceans annually. Plastic is affecting more than just our ecosystems, some people are living in places filled with trash all around them. These living environments are not healthy for anyone and no one should have to live like that. Fishermen leave behind contaminated fishing lines or nets, called ghost nets. These ghost nets are estimated to account for 10% of all marine litter. Some marine debris will never be able to come out of the ocean as right now our technology isn’t advanced enough to go down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Even if we get all of the debris on the top of the surface of the ocean it will still make a huge impact on the environment and it will save thousands to millions of lives. Plastic products are not biodegradable, which means that they don’t break down by organic matter. Plastic products are photodegradable, so they decompose by sunlight. However, when plastic products are in the ocean they never get the chance to decompose from the sunlight. China produces the most plastic waste per year than any other country. Over the past couple of years, more laws have been placed to help with removing litter from all ecosystems.
The Anmulle disbursement of plastic in our oceans is around 10 million tons of plastic, this is equivalent to 625,000 lbs. Every year there are around 300 million tons of plastic products produced. If all of this plastic is thrown into the ocean in one year it could be the end of an ecosystem. This would be a catastrophe as everyone needs water to survive and the contamination with all the toxins could make the water undrinkable. Some companies remove plastic waste from the ocean and some vehicles are made to help remove plastic waste faster, but they can’t do it by themselves. If one family of four recycled their plastic it could remove almost 340 pounds of carbon equivalent emissions every year, so imagine if every family recycled. We could have a huge impact on Earth’s health and all of the ecosystems in a year. Picking up trash is never fun, but the impact it could have on us in the future could be either life or death.
Fishermen have a huge impact on marine ocean debris as they throw their fishing lines and nets in the water every day to catch thousands of fish. Some of these nets may have holes and are no longer good, so they dispose of these lines in the ocean. These nets are called ghost nets. Ghost traps are often found in the water because they can get pulled off the ship while they are using the equipment or anything can happen to the nets and traps. Storms also impact fishermen and the big waves can knock their traps or whole ship underwater. Many fishermen have also lost their lives due to storms or ship crashes or other scenarios.
Plastic debris can also become entangled in coral reefs and interfere with other seafloor organisms and animals, or even become buried under sediment, making clean up extremely difficult. The research was done on six deep-sea trenches including the Mariana trench, and they found that all six trenches had microplastics inside. These microplastics may not be cleaned for years because the technology we have today cant withstand the pressure that is contained with going down in the depths of those trenches.
While the oceans are filling with plastic debris greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere hurting every environment there is. If one environment goes then all of the other environments are affected by the chain reaction. These also affect how healthy it is to drink the water as it could be contaminated and bad for us to drink. The world will keep heating up and as the water rises the ice glaciers will melt. As the glaciers melt all of the methane and carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere. The process will keep repeating itself until all of the ice in the North and South pole are gone. The sea level could raise hundreds of feet making most coastal cities/ states go underwater.
Plastic is made from photodegradable materials and not biodegradable materials. This means that while land plastic can degrade over time the plastic in the water can’t and will stay in the water until taken out. Photodegradable means they degrade on exposure to sunlight, although they do so only under dry conditions, as water inhibits photolysis. Photolysis is a chemical reaction when a chemical compound is broken down into photons. Biodegradable is the organic breakdown into microorganisms, like bacteria.
Most of the ocean debris is made in China and the United States. China and the United States produce a combined 96.91 million tonnes of plastic waste per year. Many countries produce millions of tonnes of plastic waste per year that overall add up to 300 million tonnes. These tonnes are either recycled, incinerated, or thrown in the waste, like the ocean or on the ground.
In conclusion. If we don’t think of climate change and the effects of plastic pollution in the ocean then in the future we may not have a valid living environment anymore. These issues have been going on for years and we disregard them all the time. Plastic is a cheap and reliable source and a lot of companies use it to make more profit. Everyone is about making money, but they don’t know how some of their products or what their business is tailored to affect the world and produce greenhouse gasses. There are alternatives to paper or plastic bags and there are products for not just one-time use like plastic is used for. Everyone can have an impact on how their future will look but we can’t just all look out for ourselves, we have to look out for the place we live and for the people and animals around us.