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Effects of Ocean Pollution

Effects of Ocean Pollution 

Effects of Ocean Pollution In today’s age, one of the main global issues that we are presented with is ocean pollution. Due to the alarming rate at which trash and chemicals are entering the world’s oceans, it provides a serious threat to both human and marine life. The pollution is a mixture of metals, plastics, chemicals, petroleum, and fertilizers.

At this point in time, ocean pollution is a danger to human health and wellbeing that has not yet been widely understood by the public. 

Highly polluted areas are mainly located along the coast of low income countries and are the result of run-offs, rivers or direct dumping. One example is the country of India. Although it is a beautiful country, it has a multitude of impoverished areas which contain some of the most polluted areas in the world. This is due to the lack of services, awareness and simply the high population density which makes it more difficult to keep under control. 

In the first decade of the 21st century, there was more plastic pollution than in all of history added up until that point. Unfortunately, plastic is so durable that it takes anywhere from twenty to five hundred years to decompose. To the naked eye, the most visible piece of pollution is plastic, where more than 11 million metric tons are polluted every year. With that being said,

there are microplastics that contain a plethora of harmful chemicals in order to make the plastics durable, flexible and flammable. When these plastics enter the open waters and animals consume them, they get into the food chain which means that the microplastics are accumulating in fish and shellfish. Due to this, millions of humans are consuming microplastics which can increase the risks to all of the diseases that they cause. 

It is believed that the flow of pollution into the oceans can be reduced by 80% in the next twenty years as a result of the business and policies that already exist. For this to happen, there would need to be a full system change that would start by having a cleaner marine environment.

Studies have shown that more than 800 marine species are already affected by plastic pollution alone. Moreover, as already mentioned, many studies have found plastic particles in seafood which carry the risk of getting humans sick as well. 

For the complete system change, it would require more than recycling in some of the higher income countries. It would have to start with reducing the overall plastic production and consumption.

An alternative would be to provide paper and compostable items instead of plastic ones. It has been found that plastic production and consumption was the leading cause of ocean pollution and if they were to reduce the production and consumption, it would lessen the waste by around 30%. Moreover, increasing recycling across the world could lower pollution by at least 20%.

One current problem is that 30% of all global plastic waste ends up in the environment and there simply aren’t enough waste management services in the world to get rid of the problem completely.

Even though it has shown that cleaning up the environment could save governments around the world nearly 70 billion dollars in waste management over the next 20 years, there are a lot of risks that need to be weighed such as the land, water use, cost and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Although ocean pollution is a horrifying sight to see, it is very much containable and can, to some extent, be prevented. There are already multiple coastlines that have completely erased all of the pollution that was once there, and have even allowed animal life to prosper. Not only are the waters becoming safer and cleaner to both humans and animals, but the decrease in pollution has led both cities and countries to an increase in tourism, overall health and economies. 

Effects of Ocean Pollution Written by Marshall Leung

Works Cited:

Lau , Winnie. “Ocean Plastic Pollution Is a Huge-But Solvable-Problem.” Ocean Plastic Pollution Is a Huge But Solvable Problem | The Pew Charitable Trusts

Ocean Plastic Pollution Is a Huge But Solvable Problem | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)

McGlade, Jacqueline, and Philip Landrigan. “Why Ocean Pollution Is a Clear Danger to Human Health.” Phys.org, Phys.org, 1 Feb. 2021, 

phys.org/news/2021-02-ocean-pollution-danger-human-health.html. Ocean Plastics Pollution, Ocean Plastics Pollution (biologicaldiversity.org).