Millions of plastics are produced each day. And half of them are single-use items like plastic straws, food packaging, and carrier bags. When people use these products, they throw them onto the ground, which late ends up in the water bodies.
In fact, plastic debris is the most form of marine waste. The biggest problem with plastic entering the ocean is that it doesn’t degrade. Instead, it is carried far distances by the ocean currents, affecting marine life. So, what should you do to prevent plastic from entering into the water bodies?
First, you need to know the effects of plastic pollution on marine life. With this, you will understand the importance of implementing safety tips to reduce pollution.
Here Are 3 Effects of Plastic Pollution on Marine Life
1. Plastic pollution causes injuries to marine animals
The biggest problem with plastic waste in the ocean is that it can cause physical wounds. When fish and other aquatic birds get entangled by plastic waste, they are likely to experience injuries and infections.
Remember, animals that live in the sea require air to breathe. But when they become entangled, it becomes challenging for them to surface oxygen. This makes them die and drown.
2. Plastic killing marine life
Microplastics look like planktons, which are the food for many animals that lives in the water. When the sea creatures digest the plastic garbage, they are likely to choke, encounter injury, or die. Besides, plastic floats in all parts of the ocean.
Thus, animals are more likely to consume it than any other food. And because digesting plastic is challenging, the sea creatures’ stomachs will remain full, leaving no room for vital foods. Because of this, the animals do not get the nutrition they need, making them starve to death.
Also read: Pros and cons of bioplastics
3. Plastics pollution can affect the coral reef
Plastic pollution in the ocean affects coral reefs. Coral reefs play a significant role in marine life. They offer benefits such as:
- Helps in nitrogen and carbon fixing
- Assist in nutrients recycling
- Offers habitat for many marine animals
Besides, many creatures reproduce and rear their young ones in the crannies created by corals. But when plastics enter the ocean, they encourage the growth of pathogens. And when the coral reefs come into contact with these organisms, they are likely to contract diseases.
Besides, when plastic accumulates in the ocean, they block oxygen and sunlight from reaching the corals. This hinders their growth, thus affecting the marine life which relies on the corals.
So, what can you do about plastic debris in the water bodies?
The most significant impact you can make is to minimize single-use plastics. These products contribute a big share in plastic pollution in the water bodies.
In this case, it is good to consider recyclable items such as carrier bags, metal straws, cups, and plates. Also, you can volunteer in clean-ups of rivers and beaches to minimize the amount of plastic that enters the ocean.
Also read: What caused the great pacific garbage patch?
FAQs on the Effects of Plastic Pollution on Marine Life
Where does the plastic waste come from?
As you are aware, plastic is the main contributor to ocean pollution. When you hear about plastic pollution, you are probably wondering where it comes from or how it forms. Plastic waste comes from various sources such as:
Single-use containers are difficult to recycle. Thus, you are likely to throw them away or leave them on the beach. This becomes a big issue since the containers can be washed by storm or rain into the rivers, which can later work their way into the ocean.
Also read: Ways to prevent river pollution
You’re likely to use cotton buds or disposable wet wipes each day. So, what happens after use? Many people flush these items in large quantities, which find their way into the ocean through the sewer system. Besides, microplastics such as facial scrubs are difficult to filter. They, therefore, enter the waterways, polluting the sea and affecting marine life.
Fishing nets cause a large amount of plastic pollution in the sea. Most of the nets are nylon, a material that does not decompose. Thus, when it enters the ocean, it injures and kills many aquatic animals. In this case, it would be best to use biodegradable fishing nets. These nets decompose after a particular period.
Which animals are impacted by plastic pollution?
The act of using and disposing of plastic is becoming unsustainable and dangerous. For instance, when you use items such as facial scrubs, they are likely to produce microplastics that enter into the sewage system.
Over time, the microplastics can make their way into the ocean, where they are likely to affect marine life. They can affect species such as:
Which solutions can help to reduce plastic pollution on marine life?
Nowadays, things are improving, and plastic containers are being recycled more than before. Despite this, there are many plastic wastes that are polluting the environment.
This is because people are using a lot of plastic each day. Plastic is cheap and readily available, making it easier to access it.
In this case, the best way to reduce pollution is by minimizing the amount of single-use plastic.
Consider reusable coffee containers or shopping bags to reduce plastic pollution in the water bodies.
Besides, you can engage in beach clean-ups. You can look for organized events that collect plastic from the beach. With this, you’ll prevent plastic debris from entering the waterways.
The effects of plastic pollution on marine life is a concern for everyone. Everyone loves eating fish. Hence, what will happen if the fish dies or consumes microplastics?
If you eat fish with microplastics, you are likely to encounter health problems. And because plastic does not decompose, it will continue affecting more fish.
In this case, it is best to implement techniques that will prevent plastics from entering the environment. With this, the waterbodies will remain clean and safe.