70% of the Earth is covered by our beautiful oceans. That’s why it is our duty to make sure these oceans remain pristine and as clean as they can be.
Have you ever sat and thought about how much plastic surrounds us in our everyday lives? I’m typing on this plastic keyboard. That’s on a plastic desk. While sitting in a plastic chair. But where does all this plastic go? It goes in our oceans.
There are many ecosystems that we don’t tend to think about that are being greatly affected by the things that we throw away. Over eight million metric tons of the garbage that we dump is non-biodegradable meaning it can persist for over a millennium. It is also estimated that about 80% of the marine litter made its way there through storm drains, sewers, and other land-based routes.
Plastic makes up for 10% of our total waste. Over half of the plastic that we use is used just once and then thrown away. Items we do not always think about like plastic water bottles are a major component in ocean pollution. On average, Americans throw away 35 billion water bottles a year at a time. The worst part of it is that same plastic could take up to 1,000 years to break down.
The immense amount of plastic that has gathered in the oceans is causing many deaths among mammals, sea turtles, fish, cetaceans and even seabird species. Almost all of these species have also been documented to have had plastic inside or around their bodies. It is also a known fact that every piece of plastic ever created is still in existence in some way because of its inability to degrade.
Now how can someone be a better human being and help contribute to stopping ocean pollution? By reducing your plastic consumption, and by taking other effective steps, you could make that much of a difference in not only saving marine life, but saving their ecosystems. Here are some helpful tips to start small.
- Recycle! Just get a bin for it.
- Use reusable shopping bags and water bottles.
- Avoid using styrofoam or plastic bags anywhere you go.
- Buy your own metal straw and carry it with you.
- Spread the word!
- Pick up trash at your local river/lake/beach.
- Start a campaign or event to clean up trash.
Watch National Geographic’s video about our role in plastic pollution down below.
If you want to know more about how you can help with ocean pollution, stay up to date with our blog and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.