While humans have done a lot for the world in terms of developing technology and building civilization, they’ve also had a negative impact on the planet in some ways.
One of humanity’s major problems lies in its willingness to pollute the Earth’s various ecosystems and natural wonders. Plastic pollution in the oceans and seas is a prime example of this. Over the years, humans have sent a lot of garbage to the world’s largest bodies of water.
Whether done directly by uncaring individuals or indirectly by those who aren’t necessarily aware of the consequences of their actions, marine pollution is a major problem.
The world’s leading environmental organizations and many grass roots movements regarding healthier seas have all taken an interest in discovering just why humankind’s plastic pollution problem is so severe. Analyzing the trends makes it easier for corrective action to be taken.
Every piece of plastic tossed carelessly into the ocean can have a big impact on the species that thrive there, and even come back to impact the human race in negative ways as well.
Ocean Pollution Facts: How Did It Get This Bad?
When the industrial revolution took place, one of the prominent materials chosen by producers and distributors of consumer goods was plastic.
While it isn’t great for the environment, that fact didn’t stop individuals and organizations from using and discarding plastic materials that aren’t biodegradable.
Since these materials are obviously not a product of the oceanic environment, plastic pollution in the ocean can harm any type of life that lives there. Everything from small fish to large whales and even down to tiny phytoplankton can be negatively impacted by the presence of plastic in the water.
Since most species in the oceans and seas depend on one another as food sources, jeopardizing the animals and organisms in one ocean zone serves as a risk to them all.
How Plastic Pollution in the Ocean Affects Humans
Oceans are an important part of the environment, and they affect everything from neighboring landmasses to air quality to the animal kingdom.
Because of the way ecosystems are connected, it is only logical to assume that pollution in the oceans and seas could pose a danger to humans. While humans haven’t seemed to understand this fully, as they continue polluting the oceans with plastic materials, they may see the results soon.
As certain species that live in the oceans begin to enter the endangered list or even see extinction, their loss will leave a gap. Since every animal influences the others in its own habitat, the loss of some oceanic species could put others at higher risk for following the same path.
There are also dangers involving climate change because of plastic pollution in the ocean. For example, lanternfish are small but plentiful through the oceans and seas. Through their diet, defecation, and migration rituals, they help regulate carbon emissions.
If this species begins to become extinct or even endangered, it could harm oceans’ ability to regulate emissions and thus lead to climbing climates in the coming years. This could have a substantially negative impact on humanity.
There’s also the issue of microscopic traces of plastic getting in the food and drinks humans consume. Even if they can’t be spotted at a glance, they can still have a substantial impact on a person’s health.
Given so many issues are associated with marine pollution, what will it take to make a significant change in the grim trend of flooding oceans with garbage?
Is the Problem Getting Worse?
While environmental advocates have been echoing sentiments about cleaning up oceans for years now, their voices haven’t been heard to the degree they’d like.
The plastic in the oceans isn’t expected to decrease any time soon. Over the next decade, researchers say the amount could even triple.
The continued trend of plastic pollution may have to do with habits. The practices people get used to are hard to break, even when evidence is presented that making a change is worthwhile.
Individuals and organizations alike may have gotten accustomed to certain practices regarding the use and disposal of plastic products. Making a dedicated effort to break these habits in favor or more eco-friendly solutions is the first step to creating long-term change.
Some of these efforts may already be in motion. However, humans have been dumping plastic into the ocean for a lot longer than they’ve been dedicated to cleaning it up – at least on a large scale.
For the effects of eco-friendly policies to really take effect, it will take plenty of time. But as the years and decades pass, the combined effects of green practices and more environmentally friendly habits can prevent humanity from at least some of the damage of ocean pollution.