The ocean is vital to the well being and prosperity of our planet. Covering 71% of the Earth’s surface, the ocean’s vast beauty is not short of unfathomable. It is a shame that people take that beauty for granted because the ocean currently contains a staggering 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris and counting. It is our duty to properly dispose of our garbage. Although many choose to not believe so, our planet is in serious danger. Our pollution damages the environment and causes dozens of species to go extinct every day.
This could potentially hurt us because food chains collapse and we hurt everything from the animals we eat to the air we breathe. Yes, even the air! Marine plants in the ocean currently produce 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere (National Geographic Society). The biggest threat to our oceans is one of man’s most used creations, plastic. “Plastic is the most common element that is found in the ocean.
It is harmful for the environment as it does not get break down easily and is often considered as food by marine animals”(Conserve Energy Future). Plastic is used in everyday life and is very beneficial because it is cheap and durable.
The problem is the substance is nearly indestructible and thousands of tons end up in the ocean each year. The amount of pollution in the ocean is continually growing due to the lack of culpability in where all the pollution is coming from and this is revealed to us through the Great Pacific Garbage patch, improper disposal of trash, and human error.
A prime example of ocean pollution due to human carelessness is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Spanning all the way from the West Coast of North America to Japan, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is miles of trash focused towards one point. This is because ocean currents form a vortex creating a focal point for debris and pollution in the Pacific. The Pacific Ocean garbage patch is 7 million tons of weight, twice the size of texas, and up to 9 feet deep (Marine Problems: Pollution). This is a repulsive sign of our recklessness and irresponsibility when it comes to taking care of our planet. Ocean pollution is a very serious matter and if ignored will worsen at an uncontrollable rate and the capability of reversing the issue will become nearly impossible. At our current pollution rate the Great Pacific Patch is likely to double in size in the next ten years. Hefty pollution such as the garbage patch is physical evidence that helps us to understand the effect of our pollution on the environment and why so many marine animals are randomly dying. Over one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution each year.
Three hundred thousand dolphins and porpoises die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items. One hundred thousand sea mammals are killed in the ocean by pollution each year (Conserve Energy Future). One of the biggest threats to the birds that are dying is the little pieces of plastic found in the garbage patch. They mistake the plastic for small fish and choke on them. It is despairing that we are causing the deaths of so many animals but nobody thinks of these consequences when they are given the choice to not litter. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a major epidemic that is so alarming nobody wants to take responsibility for it. It is proof our litter will never just disappear. Our improper disposal of trash is one of the biggest reason the pollution in the ocean is so bad. A large amount of the trash comes from the litter on land. Everything thats ends up in a moving waterway makes its way to the ocean and winds can blow litter into the water. Through this eight million tons of plastic end up dumped into the ocean each year (Conserve Energy Future). What people have trouble understanding is that it is indefinitely our responsibility to dispose our garbage and if we fail to do so not only others suffer the consequences but we do too. For example, when we are polluting the ocean with trash and chemicals small animals at the bottom of food chain absorb these as part of their food.
These small animals are then eaten by larger animals that again increases the concentration of chemicals. Animals at the top of hierarchy of food chain have contamination levels millions times higher than the water in which they live. These animals we then consume are toxic to us because they are absorbing the pollutants we contaminate the water with. This nature’s way of getting revenge on us for our pollution. If we feed the ocean garbage it feeds us it right back through our food. Fixing ocean pollution is not a one man job. Everyone needs to partake in the effort of properly disposing their garbage. The only way to get others to take this matter seriously is to bring more awareness to this topic. There’s a lot of careless people in this world that do not worry about the destruction of marine life and planet. These people can have their whole view on the topic of ocean pollution changed if leaders in this world set a good example and stress the importance of taking care of our environment. Sadly, I feel the leader we have does not take notice of this momentous issue. Nonetheless, we can all set examples by taking responsibility and disposing our garbage. Some of the pollution that enters the ocean is clearly and unambiguously a mistake. The water cycle is mainly responsible for this. Pollutants enter the ocean through rain that picks up chemicals from anything that is absorbed into the ground. The biggest source of pollution in the ocean is directly from land based sources, such as oil, dirt, septic tanks, farms, ranches, motor vehicles, among larger sources (Conserve Energy Future). When this pollution enters the water it will eventually come back to affect us in some way.
It is important to bring attention to human error polluting the ocean too because this is what adds onto the litter that we put in the ocean. Oil is the fastest source of deterioration to the ocean, being far more harmful than trash and waste. Most oil causing harm in the ocean is a result of drainage from land. Oil spills suffocate marine life to death. Pollution has accelerated in the past few decades because of mishaps such as oil spills. Although we see fiascos such as the 2010 “BP Oil Spill” we still think oil is the worst of human errors that end up in the ocean. The dumping of radioactive waste from nuclear reactors, industrial race (such as heavy metals and acids), and drained sewage are also heavy contributors to pollution and are far more harmful. We need to understand the serious threat heavy amounts of chemicals in the ocean could pose not only for the animals living in it but for our planet. The health of our oceans should be a greater topic especially in our world today. Human error can be stopped if we worried about this problem and took more precautions. There is a vast majority of people in this world who don’t see this as their problem but if nobody takes responsibility we will soon be leaving future generations of this world in grave danger.
The amount of pollution in the ocean increases because people fail to care or worry about what goes into our water and there is evidence of this through the Great Pacific Garbage patch, improper disposal of trash, and human error. We need to understand the reason ocean pollution is so dangerous is that once something gets in our water it comes right back to us. Salty water of ocean has the capability to move pollutants from the ocean into coastal freshwater making wells and groundwater contaminated (Conserve Energy Future). We can hurt ourselves by hurting the environment. Water should be one of the most regarded parts of our environment keeping all organisms living. “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans” (Jacques Cousteau). I strongly believe society is raising selfish people that are being taught to value the wrong things. Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. The oceans are a big part of earth our home. There is an old native american saying that goes “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” I believe there is great truth to this. Our priorities should lie in taking care of this beautiful world we live in. So please do not litter in our oceans. Water is a big part of our lives, figuratively and literally, the human body is 60% water (Water Properties: The Water in You).