It’s no great surprise that pollution is entirely awful for the environment and the human population. Plastic is especially bad and is banned in certain places across the globe.
In many cases, governments are working to reduce plastic use by doing things like limiting plastic straws or using plastic bags. They realize that plastic is important, but they also recognize the problems that come with single-use plastics.
Ocean Plastic Pollution
Banning plastic straws might sound like a small thing, but it makes a significant impact when you’re talking about the tons of plastic that are released into the ocean every single day.
Once the plastic has made its way into open waters, it is nearly impossible to pull it back out. Litter interceptors can catch some of the larger pieces, but when it comes to microplastics, they tend to flow through freely.
Furthermore, once the plastics have begun to break down in the ocean, the remnants are going to be there for the foreseeable future.
On one remote island, in particular, there are around 38 million pieces of plastic trash that are just sitting there taking up space.
Animals Are Dying
Plastics pollution in the ocean is deadly to marine wildlife. Because the animals eat plastic without thinking, they are dying by the thousands from ingestion.
Hawaiian monk seals frequently get stuck in plastic and end up dead from eating it. Another casualty is the endangered Pacific loggerhead sea turtle getting caught in the plastic as they make the trek from Japan to Mexico every year.
Trash Gyres in the Oceans
Swirling around the Pacific ocean is the trash island that has since been dubbed as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is twice the size of Texas and is approximately nine feet deep.
Plastic debris has gathered in the northern Pacific ocean and continues to grow, but did you know it’s not the only one?
It’s true – there are five in the various oceans. There is one in the Indian Ocean, another in the North Atlantic, one in the South Atlantic, and yet another one in the South Pacific.
Plastic Bag Pollution
When it comes to ocean plastics, plastic bag pollution is especially detrimental to the open ocean. Sea turtles can’t tell the difference between a jellyfish and a plastic shopping bag.
Fish can’t distinguish between a shiny microplastic and food. As a result, they all end up eating thousands of tons of plastics every single year.
Those plastics broken down into microplastics end up on your plate every day, and chances are that you don’t even realize you’re eating it, too.
Pollution stats are through the roof in just about every single way. From pollution in national parks to pollution in the ocean, the statistics are astounding.
- In 2016, more than 320 million tons of plastic waste were produced by more than seven billion people. It is expected to double by 2034.
- Eight million new plastic pieces end up in the ocean every single day.
- It is estimated that 269,000 tons of macro and microplastics are found in the ocean.
- 60% - 90% of all marine trash and debris is made of plastics.
- Marine plastics are found in 100% of marine turtles, 36% of seals, 59% of whales, ad 40% of seabird species that have been examined to date.
- Ocean plastics kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and turtles in addition to one million seabirds every year.
- Americans, alone use over 100 billion plastic bags every year. Only one percent of those bags are ever returned for recycling.
- Plastic bags are only used for maybe 12 minutes at a time.
- One million plastic bottles are purchased every single minute across the globe as of 2017.
- The average person eats approximately 70,000 microplastics every year without realizing it.
- The expected amount of plastic in 2050 is approximately 1.6 metric tons for each human on the planet.
- Not a single square mile that is free of plastic exists on the face of the planet.
Facts About Pollution: The Bottom Line
People like to believe that once a commercial trash service takes your waste to the dump, that’s the end of the line.
Truthfully, with 80% of the ocean plastics coming from the land, it’s hardly close to being over. The best you can do is to reduce your plastic usage.
Also, utilize companies like this Kansas City trash service, so at least you know your waste is being disposed of responsibly.