Dear Future President,
I have concerns about the ocean. More specifically, all of the pollution that has accumulated in it. The pollution from both marine debris and from agriculture have only gotten worse over the years, and are expected to grow into even bigger problems over the next few decades. I believe that you are one of the best people to ask to do something about this, because everyone listens to you and respects you. You were chosen by us to be president after all.
Marine debris is one of the biggest sources of pollution in the oceans. Marine debris is anything that is man-made and enters the ocean. In every single ocean, there is marine debris. Plastic bags, glass, bottles, cigarette butts; all of it is our fault. About 80% of it comes from land and the other 20% comes from the ocean, but it is still us who put it there in the first place. Marine debris from the ocean is often fishing gear, nets, boats, anything that is abandoned in the ocean. There is even a garbage patch in the North Pacific Gyre that is twice the size of Texas, and extends 20 feet down. That is a lot of garbage! The worst part is, is that it is expected to double in size over the next five years.
Would you really want that? There are already 267 different species known to have suffered from plastic and other marine debris. Birds pick up tiny pieces of trash and feed it to their young; the baby birds die. Turtles and sunfish eat plastic bags because they mistake them for jellyfish. Then they are too full of plastic bags to eat anything, so they starve to death. Ocean pollution doesn’t only affect creatures in the ocean though. Not only does it affect the creatures in the ocean, it also affects the whole food chain.
Pollution in the ocean affects the whole food chain. One of the ways that we pollute the ocean is by using pesticides and fertilizers. Whether it’s being used on a farm or in a garden, they’re still washed out when the rain comes. Fertilizers contain substances that are harmful to aquatic life, and when it rains, the runoff makes its way to the ocean eventually. When it reaches the ocean, it increases the toxic algae level, which uses up a lot of oxygen. Some of the things that are affected by this are phytoplankton. Phytoplankton produce a lot oxygen, which brings me to my next topic: Earth’s oxygen sources.
More than half of Earth’s oxygen is produced by plants in the ocean. About 70% of our oxygen is produced by the oceans, which take up about 71% of Earth’s surface. Inside the ocean, there are little microscopic single-celled organisms called phytoplankton. Believe it or not, most of the oxygen produced by the ocean is because of these phytoplankton (kelp is also another source of oxygen, though it produces less).a Phytoplankton and kelp produce oxygen because they go through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is when a plant takes in carbon and turns it into food for themselves. A byproduct of this process is oxygen. All plants do this, but because there are many phytoplankton, they produce more oxygen. This brings me to my next point: our carbon emissions
We humans release so much carbon that our planet’s recycling system can’t keep up. All trains, buses, cars, and planes produce carbon dioxide. While we release all of this carbon, we haven’t been able to get rid of it. It just builds up in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the plants that try to recycle it all can’t keep up. Oceans and forests take in the same amount of carbon that they did before, but we keep releasing more of it. This doesn’t help the phytoplankton at all. While all of this carbon dioxide builds up, the sea temperature rises. With the warming sea levels, some of the phytoplankton can’t survive, lowering even more the rate at which we can lower carbon dioxide levels.
So Future president, I am asking you to do something about this. You could talk about it more to the public, or try to come up with a law that would protect it more. Anything helps, and the situation is getting worse every single day. People look up to you. Please do something.
"Ocean Plastic & Sea Turtles." Seeturtles.org. Squarespace, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.
"What Is the Biggest Source of Pollution in the Ocean." National Ocean Service. NOAA, 29 May 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.
Roach, John. "Source of Half Earth's Oxygen Gets Little Credit." National Geographic. National Geographic, 7 June 2004. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.
"How Much Do Oceans Add to World’s Oxygen?" EarthSky. N.p., 8 June 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.
"Types and Sources." N.p., 2 Nov. 2016. Web. 3 Nov. 2016.