Keep Calm and Save the Oceans

by Holly Butler- 2nd Year

The term “climate change” is often used to refer specifically to climate change by human actions (also known as global warming). Anthropogenic climate change is caused by human activity, as opposed to natural change in climate that may have resulted as part of Earth’s natural processes.

Think- have you ever thrown a chocolate bar wrapper or a plastic 7up bottle on the ground? Your actions could cost death to sea life, even though you may not be near a beach, river or lake. Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastics end up in our oceans. Metric tons (or tones): a unit of weight equal to 1,000 kilograms, or approximately 2,204.6 pounds. You can see why this is becoming a major problem.

Plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Plastic materials and other litter can become concentrated in certain areas called gyres as a result of marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents. There are now 5 gyres in our ocean. About 3.5 trillion fish live in the sea. Just think: 790 – 2,300 billion fishes were caught in the wild from 2007-2016 and fish swallow plastic thinking it is sea food.

If someone throws some rubbish on the ground or misses a bin without noticing, the plastic can find its way into our oceans. The wind can blow the plastic into a water source or even rain could help the plastic into rivers, lakes or our oceans. If we don’t do something to fix this problem soon, humans could die from the plastic in our digestive system.

A “Massive Floating Boom” was made to clean up the oceans. The system’s centerpiece is a nearly 2,000 foot long plastic tube with a 10 foot skirt attached beneath, forming a U-shaped barrier designed to be propelled by wind and waves. Its aim is to collect plastic as it floats — and then every few months, a support vessel comes by to retrieve the plastic, like an oceanic garbage truck. The plastic is then transported back to land for recycling. This has made a huge impact on our oceans. The “Ocean Cleanup” estimates that a plastic extraction vessel will travel to the floaters every six weeks to collect marine plastics from within the retention system. The area will first be scanned for large fish, sharks and sea turtles with an underwater camera. If a living marine mammal or sea turtle is found entangled in a derelict net or debris, a disentanglement procedure may be initiated depending on safety and weather conditions and the species involved.

Humans have been at the top of the food chain for millions of years. Think, when fish digest plastic, where does it go? This plastic cannot be digested by the sea life that is eating it. Their stomachs become full and then the sea life starve to death. These micro pieces of plastic are finding their way up the food chain. This could mean that humans could start eating plastic pieces. Sea animals and birds die from starvation because they cannot digest food. The plastic that they think is food does not digest. What’s
stopping this from happening to humans? Our seas are one of the most important things in the world. It
provides food, rainfall, and most of our drinking water, after filtration, of course.

The 8th of June is “World Oceans Day”. This day is to raise awareness for plastic pollution and that a healthy ocean makes a happier planet. Everyone is invited to cut down on plastics, use their plastics again or for different things and recycle. In some countries, there are events held to clean up streets, roads and beaches. These events are a good impact on the environment.


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