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Imagine Texas but overflowing with trash and junk, now multiply that by two. That is what’s floating out in the middle of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean right now! This trash goes on to harm marine wildlife and humans. If people don’t act quickly, then the trash that we put there would continue to ruin the ocean. I strongly believe that humans are the cause of trash in the ocean and the destruction of the ecosystem.
One reason why there is trash in the ocean is because of human industries. To begin with, developing countries or countries that have a less advanced economy are one of the main causes of industrial pollution. This is because developing countries don’t have any laws restricting the amount of industrial pollution the companies can dump in the ocean. This has resulted in the Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1998 signed by 43 countries. Also, many fishing industries are a big contributor to industrial pollution. Specifically, 10% of the litter in the ocean is from fishing nets and line that fisheries purposely throw trash into the ocean. This will only cause more trouble for the fisheries, they can be fined and the fishing nets will kill valuable fish that could earn the fisheries more money. One leatherback turtle was found severely injured because it had eaten over 590ft of fishing line. Also, between 1978 and 1986, there were 215 reports to government officials reporting that animals were being caught in nets from fishing boats. Lastly, American industries have contributed to the garbage in to the ocean. To be specific, about 220 pounds of plastic is dumped into the Pacific Ocean from America every single year. As expert Giora Proskurowski, a woman with personal experience with trash in the oceans, said,” It forces us into physical confrontation with the human impact on the environment.” This means that if you go out into the ocean and see the trash, then you could get a real image of what humans have done to the ocean, you’d then realize what a mess we have made of the oceans. A person might object that there is nothing we can do to other people’s’ actions, although they aren’t true. People can speak up and object to industrial dumping and write letters. Industries are not just hurting the environment, they are hurting themselves.
One of the main causes of pollution in the ocean is general pollution. First of all, general pollution in the ocean is partially caused by street litter. The litter is thrown on the street and gets wash down the storm drain which leads to river systems, seas, and eventually oceans filled with creatures that live in or by the water. Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade, in this time period, one piece of plastic can go through many sea animals’ stomach. Secondly, regular daily things contribute to trash in the ocean. For example, an average person usually dumps about 160 water bottles into the ocean each year that add to the already expanding trash patches in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Lastly, another reason why general pollution is causing trash in the ocean is because of beach pollution. As expert Doug Woodring, head of the non-profit project Kaisei which is a program that helps clean up the oceans, once said,” Every single person that has ever been to a beach anywhere has seen plastic, even in the remotest of places.” This goes to show how much plastic that could potentially end up in the oceans. Plastic bags are left carelessly on the beach which will most likely float into the ocean and then into a sea animal’s throat. The bag will soak up harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and oil. The bag will be eaten by a fish which humans will eat, and now we have harmful chemicals in our system. Expert Marcus Eriksen once said,” What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It’s that simple.” Some people might think that you would have to change everything about your life or that you don’t have time to save the oceans, but you can just stop using plastic bags and that will make a difference. Trash in the ocean is mostly caused by general pollution that affects everything, especially humans.
Finally, one reason why there is trash in the ocean and it is so dangerous is because of accidental pollution. To begin with, there is dangerous trash in the ocean is partially because of accidental human litter. Specifically, 80% of trash in the ocean starts out as litter, most of which was an accident, which led to over 100 million tons of trash in the Pacific Ocean only. A 1975 estimate said that humans dump over 7 million tons of trash into the ocean annually. Also, most of the trash has chemicals that are dangerous to marine life and humans. Another reason why there is dangerous trash in oceans everywhere is because of industries. Although most companies dump trash on purpose, sometimes they accidentally dump chemicals that help make trash more toxic. To explain, trash can suck up the chemicals such as BPA and mercury from the industries and make the trash even more toxic. Hundreds of people have died from mercury that was accidentally released from industries. This also eventually makes its way into a sea animal’s stomach. Industries also accidentally let small plastic pieces called nurdles into the ocean. As Giora Proskurowski once said,” When I looked off the deck of the ship, I saw hundreds and hundreds of little tiny pieces of plastic.” She was talking about the amount of nurdles she saw on her expedition in the Pacific Ocean. Lastly, boats are a big contributor to dangerous trash in the ocean. For instance, 20% of the trash floating in the ocean fell off of boats. This consists of fishing gear, lines, and other materials. To explain, once in 1992, a big tanker or boat named Ever Laurel unintentionally dumped over 20,000 rubber toys into the ocean. To this day, these toys are still washing up on beach shores all over the world. Accidental pollution is harming both industries and the environment.
For the reasons above, I strongly believe that trash in the ocean is caused by human industries, general pollution, and accidental pollution. Trash harms everything and kills hundreds of animals every year. I propose that we as a society should raise awareness about this alarmingly big problem by using less plastic products and disposing our trash the properly. One group of people actually made a boat out of plastic bottles and nets from the ocean and named it Junk to help raise awareness about trash in the ocean. If everybody steps in and help contribute something, then we as a community can make a change for the better.
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