Ocean Pollution has put our oceans at the brink of disaster
Every year more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans, but how does that affect humans and what can we do to stop this behavior?
Plastic and other forms of pollution are ending up in our marine life, and it’s making its way into our food chain.
The ocean is full of an endless array of potential food sources for the aquatic dwellers. Everything from microscopic plankton all the way up to giant squid and whales is used as potential food for a hungry member of the food chain.
Each plant and animal play its own role in sustaining the world’s largest ecosystem. This is the way nature intended to maintain a healthy balance across our world.
However, due to the ever-growing waste of humanity, we are gradually upsetting this balance. As a global community, we are unable to effectively implement sustainable habits. We produce a lot of garbage, and all that garbage has to end up somewhere. Often the philosophy, “out of sight, out of mind” becomes the prevalent solution to our garbage problem. We bury our trash underground, or simply toss it into the nearest body of water, and turn away as it sinks into the abyss.
What we don’t see is how the plastics we use become instruments of torture to the unsuspecting marine life. This video depicts the fate of one fish that mistook garbage as food:
While cleaning the fish the fisherman discovers a depressing surprise in the fish’s stomach.
What can we do to stop this pollution?
Ok, I don’t want to be all doom and gloom here, because there is always a way to save lives. In our own homes, we can create habits that decrease our personal waste. When you go to the store, consider buying a recyclable water jug, instead of that twelve pack of individually bottled water. At home using a reusable water bottle for all of your drinking needs will eliminate excess garbage from toss away bottles and plastic cups.
Always remember, a little goes a long way to saving the lives of the animals and environment we depend on for our existence.
So what does this pollution do to the human body?
My story behind this fight against ocean pollution:
I’ve been lucky enough to dive a lot of great places around the world, but one special dive got me working on this project.
It was an average dive with two students, on a dive site I had dove hundreds of times. But this time was different. We were diving in Thailand at the famous Similan Islands.
This was usually a place with a lot of life, big and small, but on this dive, I couldn’t see anything but plastic. Plastic bags, small pieces of plastic, large pieces of plastic, you name it. Trash as long as the eye could see, and we couldn’t see far, cause there was plastic everywhere.
We did our training for the course and ended the dive because there was nothing good down there.
On the surface we could see is as well and days after this dive, I’d still find small pieces of plastic on my equipment.
Two days after the dive I was back in the same area. This time everything was gone, some were left on the beaches, but most were moved along the current.
This made me look into what we’re actually doing to our oceans. And let me just say, it’s not good.
What can I do to help?
What you do on land can change the fate of what goes on offshore – and small changes in habits can have a large impact on improving our oceans.
1. Keep your sewer drains clear
Prevent rubbish and chemicals from flowing into the sea. Keeping your property’s drains clear is your responsibility.
2. Dispose of products properly
Household cleaning products, batteries, paint and pesticides can threaten water quality.
3. Reuse and recycle
And opt for no packaging when possible. Carry a reusable water bottle, carry a cotton tote bag and recycle when possible.
4. Plant an organic garden
Pesticides from gardens and lawns can wash into the ocean.
5. Eat sustainably
Overfishing, loss of habitat and market demand has decreased fish populations. When shopping or dining out, choose seafood that is sustainably sourced.
6. Respect the beach
Take your rubbish with you after a day at the beach, and don’t remove rocks and coral.
7. Explore responsibly
Next time you’re off on a dive, cruise or kayak – be mindful of the marine life around you. Find some eco-friendly tours and packages that will respect the marine environment.
From sustenance, natural beauty to economics – the ocean provides plenty for the human race. Respect the ocean by keeping it clean for generations to come.
If you liked this you’ll also love our great infographic on 50 Amazing Facts About The Ocean
- Anderson, T.L. (2013). One world, one ocean, one mission. Earth Common Journal, 3(1).
- Andrews, G. (2013). Plastics in the ocean affecting human health. serc.carleton.edu
- Conserve Energy Future (2015). What is ocean pollution? conserve-energy-future.com
- Hanlon, P. (2012). Heavy metal fish: How mercury ends up on your plate. grist.org
- Jambeck, R.J. et al. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347 (13).
- MarineBio. (2015). Ocean pollution. marinebio.org
- Merkl, A. (2015). Ocean plastic is likely disappearing into the food chain, new study indicates. theguardian.com
- GroenForskel (2016). A sustainalbe guide. Groenforskel.dk
- National Geographic. (2015). Save the plankton, breathe freely. education.nationalgeographic.co.uk
- National Geographic. (2015). Things you can do to save the ocean. ocean.nationalgeographic.com
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2015). Ocean. noaa.gov
- Thank You Ocean (2015). Water pollution. thankyouocean.org
- The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited. (2014). Oil tanker spill statistics 2014. itopf.com
- The World Counts. (2014). How does pollution affect humans. theworldcounts.com
- Water Pollution Guide. (2015). Marine dumping. water-pollution.org.uk
- United Nations. (2013). UN Convention on the Law of the Sea turns 30. un.org
What’s worth saving if not our ocean?
If nothing else, this gives us some perspective regarding our role on Earth. We are treating our oceans like our own private junkyard dumping thousands and thousands of tonnes waist straight in – and what will the result be? More dead ocean areas, no more marine life or what? What do you think will become of our oceans and what can we do to stop this?