Plastic in the ocean: real consequences

Modern life has provided us with endless comforts, and part of our consumption patterns, by means of which we try to lead a comfortable and comfortable life, involves the use of plastic.

This is a synthetic material made from petroleum residues, which is present in most of the objects that we use daily.

Unfortunately, the excessive use of this material is causing environmental havoc. Although these, without a doubt, were never calculated, nowadays they denote a strong impact in all spaces, especially in the sea.

Plastic dependency

Cell phones, clothing, shoes, accessories, equipment and medical supplies, school supplies, computers, artifacts of all kinds are made of plastic. As well as the quantity of disposables that are manufactured daily and minute by minute, are consumed and go to landfills, among which are supermarket bags, water bottles and various containers.

Although in some countries there is a provision to place plastics in specific places and later take them to recycling centers, almost 80% of the plastic that is thrown away does not go through this process. This means it goes to garbage dumps, sewers, rivers, mountains, savannas, and valleys. Finally, with the action of the wind, the water currents end in the sea, generating the drama that currently represents witnessing plastic in the ocean.

Plastic in the ocean, irreparable damage?

For several decades scientists of different specialties such as biologists, marine biologists, chemists, ecologists, environmentalists; They have warned about the damage that the production and consumption of plastic is causing to the planet, whose expansion began at the end of the Second World War.

According to recent figures from scientific research, 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced in the last 65 years. More than half of this figure has been produced in the recent decade.

Currently, only 9% of all plastic produced and discarded around the planet has been recycled, 12% has been burned and the rest, that is, 79%, has ended up in the environment, and the presence of plastic in the ocean.

All plastic objects are susceptible to reaching the sea. Although sometimes we get plastics that are dumped directly or that come from ships. According to the information gathered, tons of plastics go into the seas and oceans every year, apparently imperceptible waste, but highly harmful.

The main victims of plastic in the sea

The seabed has particular characteristics that cause the degradation of the plastic to occur gradually, either due to the temperature of the water, due to the sinking of the material and its consequent distancing from the surface, among other reasons. The action of the sun’s rays on plastic waste has its effects and the decomposition of this material occurs from the breakdown of the plastic, converting it into small fragments whose decomposition is also slow.

It has been seen how the presence of plastic in the oceans impacts marine life, especially fish and birds that die or get sick from ingesting objects made of this material, which, without a doubt, will affect man.

According to the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) of France, around 1.5 million fish, birds, turtles and whales die annually from the presence of plastics in the sea, as animals do not distinguish objects and ingest them as food.

The photographs and videos, as well as the documentaries released in different media are impressive. These show dead fish and birds, carrying plastic particles in their stomachs that they obviously could not digest. Many others die by drowning trying to swallow objects that are present in their habitat.

Without a doubt, the environmental liabilities that man has, especially with his seas and oceans, have become a real drama. Its consequences are already being warned by specialists and experienced by the species that inhabit the sea, because of the plastic in the oceans.

Plastic islands

The amount of plastic in the oceans is such that its accumulation in tons has formed not one, not two, but five islands of plastic waste in different oceans of the planet.

The organization Greenpeace it has also provided figures in its reports on the accumulation of plastic in the oceans. He has warned that “every second 200 kilos of plastics reach the seas and oceans; Every year 8 million tons of plastic garbage are disposed of in the sea, in the North Pacific, 30% of the fish have ingested plastic in their life cycle, and that the seabed accumulates about 50 billion plastic fragments ”, according to the estimates.

Of the five islands of plastic garbage that have been formed, two are in the Pacific, another two in the Atlantic and one in the Indian Ocean. These are accumulations of microplastics made up of particles smaller than 5 mm.

The so-called waste island, located in the PacificIt is the largest, it is 7 times larger than the Spanish territory. It was discovered in 1997 between the coasts of California and Hawaii, and since then it has tripled in size. It is estimated that its surface measures between 710,000 km² and 17,000,000 km².

This island, also called a toxic island or the great garbage patch, is made up of concentrations of plastic that float on the surface; They are microscopic fragments that are difficult to eliminate and that inevitably contaminate and gradually devastate the oceanic environment.

The accumulation of plastic in the ocean is now a global concern, and many organizations are working to prevent massive amounts of this material from reaching the sea.

The questions remain: What to do with the amount of plastic that currently invades the seas and oceans? Will man be able to reverse the process of plastic fragmentation in the ocean? What solution can there be to treat this material once it is in the water?

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