What is Ocean Plastic Pollution, and How Can We Prevent It?

by Gaute H. May 04, 2022 3 min read

Pile of trash and plastic on the beach

What is ocean plastic pollution?

Plastic is a commonly used material in our daily lives, and is used in everything from single-use plastic items to building and construction materials, as well as packaging and household equipment. However, the waste produced by this plastic has massively affected the environment, marine life, and human health. About 8 million tons of plastic pollute the oceans worldwide.

Why is plastic harmful?

Plastic is cheap, light-weight, and durable, but it is non-biodegradable, which means that it remains in our environment for hundreds or even thousands of years. Plastic is produced by chemicals from fossil fuels i.e. oil and gas. The massive use of these natural resources for its production is also harmful for the environment and future generations.

What are the effects of plastic pollution on marine life?

Plastic kills thousands of marine animals, like seals, sea birds, whales and fishes, due to starvation when their stomach fills with plastic debris. Not only this, but they also suffer from gash, internal injuries, and reduced ability to swim as they get tangled in plastic waste. The ocean plastic may also contaminate the ocean with bacteria and invasive microorganisms that disturbs the ecosystem.

What are the effects of plastic pollution on human health?

Ocean plastic pollution also has adverse effects on human health as the researchers found plastic in tap water. As plastic is a product of many harmful chemicals that are carcinogens, these chemicals affect the body’s endocrine system causing problems with hormonal functioning that results in disturbances in reproduction, growth, and immune system.

How can we reduce ocean plastic pollution?

Many organizations are already making efforts to ban the use of plastic and make our oceans clean. However, nothing will work unless we, as individuals, make efforts to keep our environment clean and healthy. Here are some ways you can help reduce ocean pollution:

1. Avoid using single-use plastics

Single-use items such as plastic bags, coffee cups, straws, and disposable cutlery are the main contributors to ocean pollution. The least we can do is, avoid using these items. You can take your reusable bag when buying groceries or shopping. Refuse the restaurants when they give you plastic utensils to eat. Tell the brands the reason behind the refusal and suggest some sustainable and reusable alternatives.

2. Support the plastic ban and/or tax implementation

Many countries have already implemented a tax or ban on the use of plastic. You should support such bans, talk about them in your community and play your part, and report in case of violations. Plastic made from fossil resources is much cheaper than the renewable items. Implementation of a tax on plastic produced by fossil resources will make the renewable items less expensive as they gain scale.

3. Avoid using products that contain microbeads

You may own a facewash, scrub, toothpaste, or body wash that contains microbeads which are supposed to help you remove impurities, but these microbeads also play their part in ocean pollution as they easily pass through the water sewage system and enter oceans, where it may be ingested by marine animals. You can check your items by looking for polyethylene or polypropylene on the back of the product label.

Ocean plastic pollution is harmful in so many ways for our environment, for us, and our future generations. If we continue the excessive use of single-use plastic, marine species may become extinct, humans may have increased health problems and there may be reduced fresh water available for future generations. It’s time to take these steps together and keep our oceans clean.

Gaute H.
Gaute H.

Founder of Oceanness. Enjoys the ocean, hanging out with friends, and exploring the world. Favorite ocean animal: Dolphins.

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