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The Negative Effects Trash Has On The Ocean

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Would you like to live surrounded by potentially harmful trash? Neither do any of the animals in the ocean. The only difference is they don’t have a choice. I am here to speak for all of the marine life that don’t have a voice. In this speech, I am going to attempt to persuade you to change your way of life because of the negative effects trash has on the ocean.


A. Marine debris, also called marine trash, is “any human-made solid material that is disposed of or abandoned on beaches, in waterways that lead to the ocean, or in the ocean itself, regardless of whether disposal occurred directly, indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally” (“Trash Pollution”) One main issue that trash in the ocean causes is that animals do not have the ability to distinguish what is food and what isn’t. Things such as plastic bags look appetizing to birds, sea turtles, and fish. Eating them leads to a number of problem such as internal issues or the possibility of the string being wrapped around their neck. Other things such as bottle caps can cause internal issues or can get stuck in turtle’s nostrils. Most of these animals are defenseless against things like this. Some are killed from these things, some have to live with their misfortunate, and the lucky ones are saved by rescuers. Most of the things they are eating are plastic, which cannot be digested and stay in their stomachs for days on end. (“The Impact of Ocean Trash.”)

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Transition: So, what can you do?

B. You are probably thinking “I am only one person. What can I possibly do to help?” The first step in helping is simply to reduce your plastic usage. Plastic is nonbiodegradable and can stick around for up to 1,000 years (Engler). As of today, there are over 8 million metric tons of plastic waste in our oceans (Sebille). 60-80% of the marine debris is plastic (“Trash Pollution”). Not adding anymore is a great first step. One act that has recently caught on is “skipping the straw.” Over 500,000,000 straws are used every single day in the Unites States, and unfortunately a majority of those end up in the ocean(“No Straw Please”). At the moment, getting 100% of the population to stop using straws, or plastic completely, seems impossible. However, the plastic that we are using needs to be recycled, or at the very least not littered and ending up in the ocean. There are small everyday things can people can easily fit into their everyday routine: bring your own shopping bag or drink from a reusable water bottle. Doing your part to cut down on this might seem small but every action goes a long way.

Transition: Besides this, there are many ways to personally get involved.

C. The trash that is smothering our oceans and marine life is a huge problem, but thankfully it is a problem we can all tackle together. As people become more educated on what is going on in our oceans, more companies are producing creative ways to help. Today, there are ways to help without even leaving your own home. The first one I want to talk about is called 4Ocean bracelets. This company was started by two guys who were appalled by the amount of trash in the ocean. They make these bracelets from recycled materials. Each bracelet helps fund the removal of 1 pound of trash from the ocean. This company has removed almost one million pounds of trash (4Ocean). Many people also volunteer to do things such as beach cleanups. By this method, over 220 million pounds of trash have been picked up (4Ocean). This is a great way to get involved and decrease ocean trash.

Transition: So, what is the outcome if we choose to not to anything?

D. To put it simply, we could not survive if the oceans went away. Phytoplankton that live in our oceans produce around 50% of the air we breathe (“What Would Happen If the Ocean ‘Died?”). Another thing that would happen is a food shortage. Many of us look at seafood as a luxury, but there are many poor countries that border the water that depend on things such as fish to survive (sscssite2017). 40% of the fish caught is also turned into food for other animals we eat such as pigs and cows (“If the Ocean Dies, We All Die)

Transition: These are just a few of the reasons you should choose to change your lifestyle to help save the oceans.


Now is the time to get involved. Whether you live on the coast or 500 miles from it, this is ultimately going to impact you and the generations to come. Be the change you want to see in the world.


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