*How earth’s oceans consume 8 Million Metric Tons of plastic annually
About eight million metric tons of plastic wastes end up in the oceans annually, a group of researchers at UC Santa Barbara’s National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) has concluded.
The above finding is a serious threat to the world surrounded by five oceans all endangered.
If the result of the research is anything to go by, the implication is such that by 2025, the cumulative input of plastic wastes in the oceans would be almost 20 times the annual eight million metric tons estimation.
Meanwhile, about 100,000 marine animals die annually due to plastic wastes in the oceans according to WWF. Some of these victims include and not limited to seals, sea lions, porpoises, whales and dolphins.
These animals are killed by the plastic demons in two ways: they either get entangled in plastic-based fishing gear or get poisoned by eating plastic substances washed into the ocean.
Meanwhile, because plastic doesn’t dissolve, it forms blocks in the abdomen of its victims and would not decompose even after the death of the animal. This makes plastic wastes more deadly as they outlive their victims.
Sometimes plastic wastes may ‘disguise’ like preys and get eaten-up by sea animals that eventually get trapped by the non-living ‘predators.’
Other studies have revealed that 45% of all sea turtle species and other identified species of marine mammals and 21% of all species of sea birds have been affected by marine debris largely composed of plastics.
According to further reports, estimated 56% of whales, dolphins and other species in the ocean have fallen victims of plastics.
Further studies from the oceanicinstitute.org have shown that the oceans cover 7% of the earth’s surface and contain 97% of the earth’s water. Then it is more worrisome that same oceans now gulp whooping 8 million metric tons of plastics annually.
Then it must be an issue of concern to relevant authorities as oceans take in as much plastic wastes whereby endangering aquatic and human lives.
Man is equally endangered as well because human health can be significantly influenced by marine litter. It is very possible because since toxic picked by sea animals do not decay, broken bottles and other substances may be excreted into the water only to cause harm to humans.
Also, plastics have been found in a variety of species of sea food being served on the table. These may include bivalves (e.g. mussels, oysters etc.), crustaceans (e.g. crabs) and fish.
A major way out of this debacle and reducing plastic pollution is what can be applied by everyone. It must be a collective effort if the war against plastic predators must be won.
The best way sea lives can be helped is to consciously reduce new garbage entering the marine environment.
This is achievable via a conscious effort of recycling. If plastics are recycled, the quantity locating their ways into the marine environment must reduce.
The simple way to achieving this is to separate plastics that can be recycled before disposing wastes. The goal can be achieved even faster when households are getting rewarded by giving up their plastic wastes.
These are sure ways of reducing the eight million metric tons of plastic weapons released into the oceans annually.
*Written by Dayo Emmanuel