Marine pollution is the introduction of substances or energy from humans into the marine environment resulting in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities including fishing, impairment of quality for use of sea water, and induction of amenities (Marine Pollution, 2018). This definition encompasses a wide range of materials such as solid waste (glass, paper and plastic), toxic chemicals (organic compounds, metals), etc. Basically, the ocean gets polluted in two ways.
- land-based source: this include man’s activities on land such as waste disposal in rivers and coastal waters. It could also be as a result of littering by beach goers.
- Marine source: this pollution arise from lost, discarded or abandoned fishing gears such as net, lines, etc.
Plastic items are the most abundant type of marine pollutant on a global scale. The adverse impacts of plastic on marine environment is not negligible because plastics are durable, buoyant, waterproof, indigestible and non-biodegradable. They pose a major threat to marine life. A wide range of threats such as increasing acidification, coral bleaching, nutrients overloading and fisheries depletion. Within the Marine environment, plastics can also fragment through the combined effects of wave action and abrasion from sediment particles. This has increased fatality as a result of ingestion, suffocation and entanglement.
Sea turtles have been reported to mistake floating plastic for jellyfish and end up ingesting them. According to new research by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), turtles have a one in five chance of dying if they eat just one piece of plastic. Traces of microplastics have also been seen in the gastrointestinal tracts of fishes, oysters and mussels we eat. 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year. 8 million tonnes washes into the ocean each year. That amount is predicted to quadruple by 2050 when there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
It’s a clarion call to rid our ocean of plastic waste. What can humans do to effectively manage marine plastic pollution
The removal of larger pieces of plastic debris from beaches before they are weathered can have considerable value in reducing the micro-plastics that ends up in the ocean. Everyone creates waste, although some humans are more environmentally conscious and create very little waste. Others are pretty horrible and create environmental problems for humans and animals.
If sea creatures had a voice, the will probably be saying
“Solution Not Pollution”
“Our Home Does Not Swallow Plastics”
“Recycle Your Plastic”