The Issue of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

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There is so much pollution in our oceans and it’s barely talked about. There have been some big moments where recently people have talked about saving turtles and just starting to use metal straws instead of plastic, but it quickly got made fun of and was discarded away. Real damage can come to our marine wildlife and even affect us if we don’t stop and actually talk about what is happening. More and more pollution is happening each year. It’s time to figure out why and put an end to it.

There are several causes of ocean pollution some of which include: sewage, nuclear waste, toxic chemicals from industries, thermal pollution, plastics, and oil spillage.

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Sewage is mostly human waste that has been flushed down a toilet or dirty water from baths. Most of the water find their way into the ocean from the sewage system.

Nuclear waste is produced from industrial, medical, and scientific procedures that use radioactive material. Radiation enters the marine wildlife food chain by plankton and kelp, once the marine animals consume these plants they are contaminated.

Toxic chemicals from industries come from fertilizers and other farm products that are carried by run-off water and into the ocean. A lot of industries dump their waste into the ocean. By doing so alters the pH levels of the ocean and affects the lives of some aquatic plants and animals that can’t survive in the different pH levels.

Thermal pollution is when the water temperature in the ocean changes. It’s caused by power plants and manufacturing companies releasing hot water into water streams and the ocean which raises the temperature. The change in temperature causes the oxygen supply to go down. Aquatic plants and animals who are used to a certain temperature get killed abruptly when the temperature changes. That is known as thermal shock.

Plastic in the ocean is due to many causes. Whenever trash is taken to a dump plastic is often light and blows away into drains and it enters the ocean and rivers that way. Most ways plastic gets into the ocean though is littering. It doesn’t just stay on the side of the road or wherever it gets thrown. It blows around and gets taken to rivers and streams by rainwater and it even gets in the drains too. That leads it to the ocean. Marine wildlife is affected by the plastic in the ocean because they end up eating it, not knowing the difference between the plastic and fish they normally eat. The toxic material of plastic also affects marine wildlife.

Oil spills are usually accidental causes involving barges, tankers, pipelines, drilling rigs, storage facilities, and refineries. Oil forms a thick layer on top of the water preventing the marine

wildlife down below to get oxygen. If it goes on for a long period of time it can destroy marine life. Oil also destroys the ability of fur-bearing mammals and it gets rid of the duck's water repellency.

The is one of the most polluted oceans in the world. According to the United Nations Environment Programme “650,000,000 tons of sewage, 129,000 tons of mineral oil, 60,000 tons of mercury, 3,800 tons of lead, and 36,000 tons of phosphates are dumped into the Mediterranean each year”. In 2007, a liter of the Mediterranean seawater contained 10g of petrochemicals, which is a chemical obtained from petroleum and natural gas. Recently the Mediterranean got cleaned, and now it is the third most polluted behind the Gulf of Mexico and The Baltic Sea.

The ocean obviously plays an important role in the climate, but the loss of biodiversity and pollution affect the ocean and can cause conditions for climate change. The amount of carbon dioxide has been rising in the ocean and the atmosphere. Ocean plants absorb carbon just like forests and field grasses do. But, any of the CO2 that is not fixed dissolves into the seawater, altering the chemistry of the waters. The result is ocean acidification. It’s the carbon dioxide that reacts with seawater that causes it to produce acid. The acid that it makes burns out fossil fuels. The ocean has turned thirty percent more acidic in the last one hundred and fifty years, it affects all of the world's oceans.

Ocean acidity is predicted to more than double by 2100 if fossil fuels continue to burn out like they are. The polar regions would be the first ones to go through any dramatic type changes. Stuff like this is very close to what people would call climate change. It’s destroying our oceans and more importantly killed the marine wildlife that is living in them. There is no excuse for it to be this way.

If there was some bigger being that was polluting your house and causing death to your friends and family members, you wouldn’t like it. There are things that we can do to stop this. There Are Things that we can do to fix it. The marine wildlife shouldn’t have its main threat be plastic. There is no reason for us to be polluting our oceans this badly. It has to come to an end.  

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