Right now, we are making history by forever altering the face of this planet. This isn’t about war, or green initiatives, or anything specific to the current administration’s goals. Instead, it has everything to do with our love of low-cost convenience, which has allowed plastic to worm its way into practically every facet of our lives. So enormous is our reliance on, and relationship with, this indestructible, non-biodegradable material that scientists now claim that our plastic pollution has permanently become a part of the earth’s geological crust. And if you think that’s significant, just wait until you hear how that’s impacting our oceans and waterways, which comprise a full 99 percent of our planet’s living space.
Every year, 8.8 million tons of plastic makes its way from land into the oceans, and studies now say that there will be more plastic than fish in these bodies of water by the year 2050. Already, massive plastic islands have formed in our seas.
Marine species are “litter”–ally swimming in this mess and regularly becoming entangled in it. Even worse, they’re ingesting this nutrient-less trash with all the toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals it contains, and guess what – anyone who eats seafood is surely consuming this junk, too.
Sadly, as vast and destructive as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other surface floating plastic may be, these represent only a small fraction of the total plastic contamination that has invaded our waters. Rather, it’s the tiny plastic particles that are occupying the seas en masse and causing the most damage, as plankton, which are the building blocks of the oceans’ food webs, eat it up, as well, ensuring everything up the chain is effectively plagued.
According to researchers, 700 marine species, including whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, sea turtles, sea birds, and of course, fish, are faced with extinction as a result. And if something isn’t quickly done to contain this problem, experts fear a complete marine ecosystem collapse could take place by 2048. Life as we know it depends on our oceans to produce a whopping 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe, to help absorb carbon dioxide, and to help regulate weather patterns, so you can see how problematic this would be.
Thankfully, our government is taking an interest in the subject and, as explained on Care2, has introduced bipartisan legislation entitled the Saving Our Seas Act, S. 756, to “support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research to better understand the impacts of this growing threat and identify solutions to stop the flow of plastic waste into our ocean, including reducing and better managing solid municipal waste.”
Sign this petition urging your Congressional Representatives to support this act.
In addition, do your part to reduce plastic pollution by:
- Refilling your reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled water;
- Carrying your own reusable bags at all times instead of introducing ever more plastic bags into the environment;
- Bringing your own reusable to-go containers and utensils;
- Steering clear of products that contain microbeads;
- Ditching plastic straws; and
- Reducing your use of microfiber garments and/or getting yourself a Cora Ball.
Together, let’s #CrushPlastic and save the oceans!
Image source: Benny Marty/Shutterstock