Plastic Pollution In The Pacific Ocean

Plastic is a modern wonder. Humans have developed a material so versatile through our own ingenuity. It is both flexible yet strong, and has helped us make a cleaner, more convenient world for ourselves. Plastic, however, has a dark side. The material is not biodegradable. In other words, Earth cannot naturally break down plastic and naturally recycle its materials like it can with other materials humans have used in the past. This has led to an environmental crisis in the Pacific Ocean.

Plastics cannot biodegrade, so once a piece of plastic reaches the ocean, it will remain in its state for anywhere between 10 and 500 years. Even if the plastic is able to slowly biodegrade, the chemicals are still harmful to Pacific marine life. Many ocean animals accidentally consume plastics that they encounter in the ocean. Almost 50% of seabirds consume plastics, and for many it is a death sentence. Other marine creatures are also being shown to have accidentally swallowed plastic bags and other plastic materials. Furthermore, chemicals from plastic released into the waters which have large accumulation of plastic waste can not only cause death to marine life, but could possibly alter their DNA. Think of parts of the Pacific ocean as a “plastic soup” and the picture is clear.

The solution is so simple yet easier said than done. Humans need to take more responsibility for our trash. This is threefold. First, there need to be more efforts to comb the Pacific waters for plastic for removal. This is a huge task that can only be done with international cooperation. Second, in order to continue to use this miraculous plastic material, more funding needs to be put into scientific research on plastic. Finding a way to formulate plastic for safe biodegradability into usable compounds is key to keeping our oceans safe. Third, governments of nations bordering or in the Pacific Ocean need to come together to pass internationally recognized regulation and give appropriate punishment for the crime of polluting with plastic.

Plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean is at a critical level. As more and more plastic bags, bottles, micro-plastics, and other plastic materials are thrown into the sea, the largest body of water on Earth is being pushed to the brink of destruction. The world must do everything it can to save the Pacific Ocean from plastic pollution that harms its animals, our beautiful coasts, and our own well-being.

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