Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to the world’s oceans and the vast range of species that live within them. Plastic waste is affecting marine life in many ways, from entanglement and ingestion to the growth of pathogens.
In fact, plastic is so pervasive that it affects turtle reproduction rates by altering the temperatures of the sand where incubation occurs. Urgent action is needed to address this issue, as scientists predict that unless something is done soon, the weight of ocean plastics will exceed the combined weight of all fish in the seas by 2050.
The Adverse Impact of Plastic Pollution on Marine Organisms
Plastic in the ocean threatens marine life, risking entanglement or ingestion leading to suffocation, starvation, and drowning. Shockingly, nearly 50% of sea turtles have consumed plastic, causing fatal consequences, particularly for juveniles who drift with ocean currents and are less selective in their food choices.
In addition, plastic pollution can promote the proliferation of pathogens in the ocean. Corals that come into contact with plastic are at an 89% risk of contracting diseases, as opposed to a mere 4% probability for those corals that do not.
The Prevalence of Plastic Pollution and its Effect on Humans
Plastic pollution impacts the environment and human health globally as plastic waste, a non-biodegradable material, accumulates in landfills, waterways, and oceans, where it can remain for centuries. Microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles less than 5mm in size, have been detected in our water, food, and air, and may accumulate in the body, leading to health problems such as hormonal disruption, reproductive issues, and cancer.
The Urgent Need to Address Plastic Pollution
Urgent action is needed to tackle ocean plastic pollution.
Collaboration among governments, businesses, and individuals is vital to cut plastic waste and boost recycling. Using reusable items, avoiding disposables, exploring innovative recycling and biodegradable materials can help reduce plastic pollution.
Plastic pollution needs urgent action to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling rates, as plastic pollution affects marine life in various ways and is a threat to humans as well. We all have a responsibility to protect the oceans, and steps must be taken to reduce plastic pollution before it’s too late.