The Negative Effects Of Plastic Marine Plastics

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There are currently more microplastics in the ocean than stars in the milky way.
Production and consumption of plastics is part of an ever-growing consumerist society. Out of the 280 million metric tonnes of plastics produced annually, 91% is not recycled, and over seven million tonnes of the synthetic matter ends up in our oceans (“Marine Debris Program”). Although scientists and volunteer-based programs are working to eliminate plastics from our waterways, the constant flow of debris continues to impact humans and animals alike. Plastic marine debris is a substantial international crisis, impacting not only wildlife, but human health and safety. Through education of consumers, as well as industry, controlling and reducing ocean debris is achievable.

In a society of over 7.6 billion people, waste is a perpetual issue. Worldwide we generate 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage each year, 260 billion pounds of which is synthetic
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Six-pack rings, nets, rope, fishing line, balloons and rubber bands are common culprits in the deaths of marine animals. According to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, 136 different marine species have been reported in entanglement incidents (Sheavly 303). The helpless, distraught animals will generally struggle, the debris hampering their mobility. Entanglement in an object often leads to suffocation, starvation or drowning. Ingestion of plastics is almost, if not more serious than other injuries caused by marine debris. Plastic items are often mistaken for food; small plastic pellets look like fish eggs, and plastic bags resemble jellyfish (303). Once swallowed, animals cannot digest the item. The ingestion will often lead to loss of nutrition, internal injury and intestinal blockage. A false sense of satiation will cause the animal to stop eating, starve, and eventually die (“Marine Debris

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