Plastic Pollution in Tho Ocean: Facts and Information
To many, the ocean may just serve as a place for water recreation and fishing. However, without the ocean, the Earth would not have the air we breathe. The ocean produces over half the world’s oxygen and absorbs fifty times more carbon than the atmosphere. Covering more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface we truly have only one “World Ocean”. Home to 97 percent of the planet’s water supply saltwater moves from one part of the ocean to another without a barrier. It is more than a place to go swimming, sailing, and other recreation. The ocean serves as a source of energy, raw materials, and most of all food, like fish and seaweed. For many years, geographers have divided our “World Ocean” into four parts: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Southern Ocean was created, which includes the waters around Antarctica. Seas, bays, and estuaries also provide subcategories to large bodies of water. Ocean Trenches are steep depressions in parts of the ocean where old ocean crust from tectonic plates is pushed beneath another plate, raising mountains, causing earthquakes, and forming volcanoes on the seafloor and on land.
Stretching down more than 36,000 feet the Mariana trench is the ocean’s deepest part. One would think that at that depth the ocean floor would be pristine, nearly untouched by human activity. To many this will come as bad news; the oceans floor is extremely polluted. It’s filled with more pollution than some of the earth’s largest surface regions. One probe into the Marianas trench only had to go down about 16,000 feet to find trash, not just waste by-product. Beer cans, plastic bags and even an entire can of spam were found on the trench’s walls – that is plastic pollution. Without being removed these pieces of garbage can stay down there indefinitely, just piling up.
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However, trash is not the only cause of pollution. Marine pollution is the spread of many harmful substances such as waste, chemical particles, oil, and plastics. These waters are home to a large variety of plant and animal species, all of which are at risk due to marine pollution. Many solutions are also available to help prevent pollution. Implementing stricter regulations by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), finding new ways for renewable energy, limiting agricultural pesticides, using proper sewage treatment, and finally cutting down on industrial waste.
According to a documentary done by the National Geographic Channel in 2017 “Worldwide, an estimated 330 million tons of plastic will be manufactured, that’s more than 100 pounds of plastics for every man, woman, and child on earth”. In addition to these startling numbers, only 7 percent will be recycled in the United States. Much of the rest will end up in the landfills where it will sit for thousands of years, other plastic is carelessly discarded where it will go from stores and street drains to streams and rivers and eventually reaching the ocean.
Once at sea the floating garbage is caught up in tides and currents. The currents that run along the California coast converge with 4 other prevailing currents that come from the far end of the Pacific Ocean. When they meet, about a thousand miles off the coast of California, the currents create a slow swirling vortex known as the “North Pacific Gyre.” On an expedition through the gyre sea captain Charles Moore was alarmed but the amount of trash he found spread out through hundreds of miles. “Debris rides from the currents of japan, as we can see markings of Chinese letters on the side of plastic containers,” said Moore. Since that voyage, Moore has dedicated his life to cleaning the oceans surfaces. Moore discovered in a lab analysis that small bits of plastic outweighed the naturally occurring zooplankton in a 6:1 ratio, quoting that “There is more plastic than life in the ocean.”
Oil and chemical particles are also a main concern for marine pollution. Due to incidents of oil entering the ocean from oils spills and pipelines to vessels and boats this is causing our largest ecosystem to head for distinction. Sadly over 2 billion liters of oil is spilled into the ocean from vessels and pipelines. Scientists have predicted that in fifty years marine life will suffer a large death rate. In 2010 British Petroleum Company commonly known as “BP” was certain of attention when taking blame for the United States largest oil spill. Located approximately 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, Deepwater Horizon suffered a massive explosion killing 11 people and releasing more than 4.5 million barrels of oil. While cleanup to the spill was performed, not all the oil was captured. To clean the oil from the open water more than 1.8 million gallons of dispersants were released in the water to help the oil be more easily metabolized by bacteria.
While the pollution of the ocean has many causes, the primary factors such as waste, chemical particles, oil and plastic have become a main concern for researchers and scientists. Throughout this paper we will be discussing the evidence that professionals have found about these factors. Also, solutions for each of these causes will be added to help find a solution to each one.
It is now the “norm” to dump our waste into the oceans to rid ourselves from the large amounts of garbage, sewage, chemicals and other wastes, but this simple solution is creating a bigger problem. Water pollution reduces the volume of water available for use by humans and other populations. We need to have a better understanding of the problem this is causing to our world and our lives so then it will be easier to find a solution to help with ocean pollution. Ocean pollution has had major effects on the environment, some of which are irreversible to the ocean’s ecosystem. Wouldn’t you want to know everything and do anything possible to reduce, or even end ocean pollution?