15 Feb How Plastic Pollution Affects our Oceans
The invention of plastic has undoubtedly helped the progress and advancement of our society and technology. Its application extends to almost every conceivable human need, from carrying our groceries, household appliances, to surgical instruments.
However, that progress has come at a cost to our environment and ultimately our planet.
The plastic that we’ve used to this day has left a very tangible impact to our oceans. There are traces of plastic that can be found in all the major bodies of water. Plastic can even be found in the Arctic and Antarctic waters. All of the major ocean gyres have traces of plastic pollution that get further distributed by the currents and are contaminating even more of the waters and ultimately the marine ecosystem. The problem is quickly escalating into a crisis as it is estimated that the plastic debris that we can visually see accounts only for 5% of the pollution, with the other 95% being submerged beneath the surface hidden from sight.
Impacts to the Ocean
Plastic as we all know is not biodegradable and very durable. In fact, a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that every bit of plastic that has ever been made still exist to this day. And the damage it has caused to the ocean and its marine life is extensive.
To begin with, marine creatures often have trouble distinguishing food from plastic objects. Consumption of plastic particles are the principal cause of severe digestive problems in many sea creatures that often lead to suffocation and death. This problem creates a chain of repercussions that lead to problems higher in the food chain as the smaller fishes are consumed by larger pelagic animals.
Sea turtles are infamously poor victims of plastic pollution as they often mistake plastic bags floating in the ocean as jellyfish or other food. Their stomachs can’t digest this plastic leading to internal injury and ultimately a slow and gradual death. Other plastic particles such as straws and nets have also been known to suffocate sea turtles and many species of fish, slowly causing them to choke to death.
Those same nets also contaminate the corals causing them to gradually break apart and consequently destroying the ecosystem along with it. Fish and turtles aren’t the only ones in harm due to plastic pollution. Sea dwelling birds also fall victim. Birds have difficulty distinguishing the difference between small plastic items and their prey. This leads to them suffocating due to ingesting plastic particles just like turtles.
It is imperative that we bring awareness to this plastic pollution before it creates irreparable damage to the marine ecosystem. Project AWARE is a non-profit organization that aims to bring awareness to the public especially divers, regarding the detrimental effects of plastic usage to our oceans and hopefully rectifying this plastic pollution problem overtime. Blue Season Bali supports Project AWARE by cleaning a dive site once a month to support the conservation of marine ecosystem in Bali.
Our oceans are a tremendous resource and home to countless animals that we share this planet with. If you’re interested in exploring the waters, or perhaps want to learn how to help with Project AWARE, don’t hesitate to contact Blue Season Bali!