Plastic waste is absolutely alarming, to the point that is contributing to a massive endangerment of marine ecosystems throughout the world. Plastic waste is damaging many natural habitats, which in turn, are affecting the balance of the food chain as a whole. From smaller microorganism to…us! Keep reading to learn more about how plastic wastage and other harmful environmental threats are affecting the oceans and the whole planet.
Impact on marine life.
One of the biggest threats of plastics is that they are not biodegradable. This means that they don’t naturally break down once they are dispersed into the environment. Instead, they linger on, even for thousands of years, causing many catastrophic consequences, with the power to affect to Earth and cause a chain reaction of issues, ranging from the smaller creatures at the bottom of the food chain, down to the apex predators.
As you might know, plastic waste can have direct effects on marine life. Not only can sea creatures be harmed by plastics, which aren’t biodegradable, but they can also ingest them, mistaking them for food. This is causing a massive level of mercury poisoning. When plastic breaks down over time, smaller sea creatures will eat it. In turn, the poisonous features of plastic will be absorbed by larger fish (predators higher up on the food chain.) This is the reason why larger fish species such as tuna are often highly regarded as being quite toxic when it comes to their mercury content.
In some cases, sea mammals and other marine creatures might actually die from ingesting floating plastic bags, as they might mistake them from jellyfish or other prey, which they depend on for their daily nutrition. Animals have a hard time telling plastic from food!
According to plastic-pollution.org humans produce over 260 million tons of plastic every single year, and roughly 10% of this amount actually end up wasted in the ocean. This makes for a huge mass of plastic debris, which eventually sinks down at the bottom of the ocean, managing the seabed and all the fauna and flora featured within.
The truth is that the damage from plastic waste is actually immeasurable because the spread of harmful chemicals and microorganisms is not always easy to correctly estimate when compared to on-land pollution.
Acidification of the ocean.
Massive and widespread plastic pollution is causing the oceans to turn more acidic, as the ph of the water is being affected by all the things that we are dumping in the seas. At this rate, experts say that oceans might turn too acidic to sustain life as we know it today within the span of a few centuries from now.
Plastic alternatives and ways to become a more responsible consumer.
Thankfully, it is not always all about alarming scenarios. While pollution is most definitely a very serious problem for the world, it is also important to know that many people are becoming increasingly more aware of how our lifestyle needs to change if we want to save the world and make it a better place for the generations to come. If you are reading this particular article, you are definitely one of these people. As people, it might seem that our individual actions are like baby steps, but together millions of consumers who decide to buy environmentally conscious products over harmful alternatives can actually have a much deeper positive impact on the environment. Instead of buying plastic items and other disposable products, try some amazing eco-friendly alternatives instead.
Instead of using plastic utensils that you’re only going to throw away, why not considering alternatives, such as coconut bowls as well as bamboo straws, only to mention a few? There is a wide range of amazing eco-friendly products and even fun gifts, which can actually help you promote the concept of sustainability, even among your friends and family members!