Hayden New Jersey

Trash Pollution in the Ocean

This letter is about pollution in the ocean and the impact it has on sea life. This article states some facts that are hard to wrap your head around.

Dear Mr.President

There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris and counting in the ocean. Of that mass 269,000 tons float on the surface. Plastic toxins seep into the oceans ecosystem slowly killing it, our fish, our seabirds, whales, sharks, dolphins, and seals. Do we really want to be responsible for this?

When garbage gets dumped or accidentally ends up in the ocean it gets caught up in currents. Garbage usually ends up in the oceans gyres where it is visible that water is in a vortex. One example of this is the garbage patch that is in the Pacific Ocean.This patch is about 7 million tons in weight, twice the size of Texas, and is up to 9 feet deep in spots as stated from garbagepatch.net. These masses of trash create dead zones in the ocean where sea life is minimal, and in some cases once beautiful island paradises have their shore decimated by tons of trash washing up onto the beach. Then this creates problems for the land animals who might eat the trash. Most of the garbage originates from people not throwing away their trash on land. This is why people have to properly dispose of their trash.

Garbage in the ocean creates an unsafe environment for fish and other sea life. Sea life dies because of the waste, plastic especially. 9% of fish that live near garbage patches (yes there are more than one) have plastic in them. Fish get tangled up in garbage, and can get plastic stuck in their gills, or swallow it. Fisherman who have lost their nets cause a huge threat to mammals who need air to breath, and when they get tangled up they often drown. This is not rare either. Plastic also puts a lot of different species in danger of extinction, animals such as, Sea turtles, Seals, Sea Lions, Seabirds, fish, dolphins and whales stated from takepart.com.

Over time plastic breaks down in small particles of just a few millimeter. This is known as of trash also pose a threat to sea life, it can easily be mistaken for plankton. Microscopic pieces of trash can disrupt the food chain because it kills small fish. It then affects the larger fish due to the downfall of smaller fish.

Those who would counter the importance of this issue say compared to the ocean is like a tiny hair clog in a great big drain. It really isn’t that much trash compared to the vastness of the ocean. The trash island in the Pacific is small and not too much to worry about. And it is almost impossible to clean all of the trash in the ocean. Some of it is microscopic, and so far there is not any gadget that filters out microscopic pieces of trash from water. This project wouldn’t just take a gadget. It would have to be very expensive and wouldn’t make much of a difference besides the garbage island. 

Even though it is hard to see the impact of trash in the ocean, it isn’t hard to tell the amount of deaths in fish and other sea life that is easily relatable to plastic. Fish breathe in the water and them breathing in these microscopic poisonous pieces of garbage is like breathing in smog on a really bad day in China. Often sea life encounters with garbage are fatal, sometimes its glass, paper, or metal, but plastic has surged past those materials.

What will happen to our oceans if we keep dumping trash into them, littered, carelessly thrown away only for innocent sea life to gobble it up or get entangled and drown. Will we as a country, as a planet help ourselves out of this hole we’ve dug for ourselves. Or will we dig it deeper? I wonder how boring the earth would be without ocean life, just garbage floating in it? No exuberant fish dolphins or seals, this could be the path we are heading. Unless someone steps up and faces this problem!

Hayden Grecsek

Brielle Elementary

Eighth Grade Citizens

The students in the eighth grade who wished to post their letters are featured here. Students worked for several weeks in both Social Studies and Language Arts classes, crafting their arguments. They participated in Penpal Schools Decision 2016 as well as Media Literacy Week.

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