Plastic Impacts on the Marine Environment

by M.Martin on November 5, 2015 - 9:04pm

In the article “Plastic Impacts on the Marine Environment” published on Plastic Pollution Coalition website discusses the danger of plastic in our oceans. It has been said that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a patch of garbage that is twice the size of Texas that is floating around in our oceans, however the truth is that it is much worse than that. Although not all the garbage is composed of plastics, it is estimated to be between 60 and 80 percent of the total garbage in the ocean. Not only are our oceans being polluted by plastics it is also threatening marine life. In the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s 2006 August bulletin, they wrote ‘"The accumulating debris poses increasingly significant threats to marine mammals, seabirds, turtles, fish, and crustaceans”’(para 3).

They further discuss how animals may become entangled in the plastic material and become injured or they may ingest the plastic and cause damage internally and may even lead to death. It has always been thought of, and overlooked, that the issue of plastics in our vast oceans, filled with an abundance of marine life would cause little impact, however this is not the case. Further information suggests “that the mechanical effects of these materials affect many marine species in many ocean areas, and that these effects justify recognition of persistent plastic debris as a major form of ocean pollution" (para 3).

In my opinion, this is a very important issue. I found it to be very disturbing that there is so much plastic garbage floating in our oceans and causing so much damage to the marine life. I can only imagine how this will get worse in time due to our single-use of plastics. Even though Canada is ahead in plastic recycling, there is still so much more that should be done to stop this tragedy.




Great reflection post!

This environmental issue has been swept under the rug for quite some time. It has always felt like no matter how much pollution is in our waterways, pollution in the air, and on land seems to trump the ecosystem and media. Yes, in direct terms the land and air may affect humanity more to some extent, however it is extremely ignorant to think polluting fisheries is insignificant to us.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in our oceans is repulsive. The fact that there is roughly 60 -80 percent of the garbage deposited in the ocean is plastic is overwhelming. The negative impact this debris has is huge for humans as well as marine life. The accumulating plastic is posing a threat to seabirds, turtles, fish and other crustaceans which is worrisome considering some of these animals are already endangered, and this could lead to potential extinction. This is not an ethical disposal of human waste by any means. It is not ethical because of environmental reasons but also because how in turn the plastic treats the marine biodiversity.

Fortunately, there have been implementation tools in place to help with this issue. These instruments are mainly substantive regulations that have included laws and policies to deter individuals from polluting. I strongly believe firmer regulations need to be in place along with stricter procedural instruments in order to audit and evaluate the regulations and how people are abiding to them. I believe a more solid action needs to occur in order for us to repair the damage already done.

Great work! I very much agree with you and your summary on this topic. It made me remember the movie “Happy Feet”, and at some point, the penguin is choking on a six pack plastic rings. It showed how marine life was polluted with plastic everywhere and it put in danger different species. That scene marked my childhood and it made me realize how much plastic pollution can affect animals negatively. It’s great that things are begin done, but I think more action needs to be put in place. Animals are precious and so is marine life. We keep our houses clean, so we should do the same for the ocean. What other techniques and actions do you think is necessary for the safety of animals in marine life?

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