October 19, 2016
Imagine being a hungry fish and through the foggy blue of the ocean you see a small mass floating towards you. It looks edible to you so you take a bite and it tastes good. Now imagine this being your last meal because that mass was in fact a piece of plastic. Marine animals make up about 80% of the ocean, yet the animals are dying rapidly. It’s not only fish that are consuming this deadly material. Plastic is having costly effects on almost all marine wildlife. Plastic is also disturbing our environment as it is contributing to pollution. While plastic is a convenient way to store things, plastic needs to stop being produced because it is causing many issues with wildlife living in the ocean.
Plastic is being produced fast. According to First American Plastic Molding Enterprise, “ In fact, there are nearly sixteen thousand facilities just in the U.S. This means that over one hundred billion pounds of plastic was manufactured. This number is increasing.” In other words plastic production is increasing and all of this plastic is being made too fast. This matters because all of this plastic has to go somewhere and most of this plastic ends up being thrown into the ocean. This is why the production of plastic needs to be slowed or stopped.
All of this plastic that ends up in the ocean is causing many problems with the wildlife. Ocean Crusaders states that,” Separate studies from 2013 suggest as many as fifty percent of sea turtles are ingesting plastic at an unprecedented rate, and dying because of it. Another study of the Loggerhead species found that fifteen percent of young turtles examined had ingested such enormous quantities of plastic that their digestive system was obstructed.” This means that the plastic that is being dumped into the oceans are killing animals that are already endangered. Keep in mind that this study was in 2013 and the number of sea turtles dead has most likely increased. This is an issue because these and many other animals could become extinct very soon because of this issue that can be stopped.
Plastic isn’t only being a problem to wildlife though. Plastic also is one of the many causes of pollution in America. The Guardian claims that only 5% of plastic is actually recycled effectively, 40% ends up in landfills, and about a third of it ends up in the oceans. This doesn’t add up to all of the plastic so the leftover plastic is burned. These fossil fuels are damaging the environment and only or make more plastic. The plastic is causing many environmental issues as well as wildlife problems, which will end up doing more bad than good.
Throwing plastic in the ocean may seem like a convenient way to get rid of it but plastic is also causing humans to consume plastic. A lot of people enjoy eating a freshly cooked fish, but if this was in the ocean it may have eaten that very common plastic that’s in the ocean. One Green Planet says that, “A number of studies suggest that the fish humans continue to consume have at one time or another ingested plastic microfibers, including Brown Trout, Cisco, and Perch.” The plastic that we are throwing into the ocean is turning our food deadly.
If we weren't to completely stop the making of plastic but actually minimizing that would still be very beneficial. People also need to understand that their are many ways that they can still contribute to this issue. They can reuse the plastic. Many grocery stores store their good inside plastic bags but they also have a spot to return them. Instead of throwing away these bags they can put them i this bin and they have already contributed. You can also recycle these bags in other ways so they can turn into other goods.
Overall plastic is causing many issues not only to the animals in the ocean but also to our environment. Too much plastic is being produced and most gets turned into unwanted things, like food for animals. The plastic that doesn't turn into to food gets burned which is not affecting the environment positively. Soon we may be eating plastic every time that we consume a fish but this could be stopped if America created laws to discontinue the production of plastic bags temporarily until the situation gets under control.