Plastic Pollution and its Effects on Marine Wildlife

I wanted to begin my blog by discussing the extent to which plastic pollution affects those who inhabit the marine environment. We often disregard how our daily habits affect those who are not present in our day to day lives. Plastic pollution has a deadly effect on marine wildlife.

Background History

According to National Geographic, around 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. Plastic pollution was first observed by scientists investigation planktons in the late 1960s. The main problem with plastic is that unlike other materials plastic does not decompose. Due to the fact that plastic is made petroleum, it does not decompose the same manner in which organic matter does.

Plastics Effects on Marine Wildlife

Plastic is responsible for the suffocations, starvation, and death of millions of marine animals, including sea turtles, fish, and sea birds. When seabirds and sea turtles ingest plastics it takes a place in their stomachs, which eventually leads to starvation.

According to the Center of Biological Diversity, sea turtles can mistake floating plastic for food. Plastic is deadly for sea animals; they suffer due to our lack of responsibility when making use of non-organic resources. Research shows that at least half of sea turtles worldwide have ingested plastic. Furthermore, sixty percent of all seabirds have ingested plastic as well.

“Plastics now pollute all dimensions of our ocean from the sea surface to the seafloor, on remote beaches and in Arctic sea ice. The impact ocean plastics have on marine species is well documented, but increasingly scientists are concerned about the potential threat of plastics to species at the top of the marine food chain: humans.” – Nicholas Mallos

Trustworthy Organizations and Sites to Donate or Volunteer

Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundations is a California-based conservation group. The Foundation has been fighting to protect oceans and seas since 1984. The foundation helps the ocean by supporting water quality tests community partnerships, beach cleanups, and more. It is a great foundation to volunteer and/or donate. For every dollar donated, 84 cents goes directly into funding the campaigns and programs to help the oceans.

Link to the foundation: https://www.surfrider.org/

Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is fighting for trash-free seas. Volunteers for the organization have picked up more than half a million straws and stirrers. Overall, 325,629,627 pounds of trash were collected since 1986. The organization mobilizes the International Coastal Cleanup which is one of the largest volunteer effort regarding the ocean’s health. They accept donations and volunteers.

Link to the organization: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/

Oceana

Oceana seeks to make the ocean a cleaner and more healthy environment. It was founded in 2001 and there are offices all around the world. It is an amazing organization to both donate and/or volunteer.

Link to the organization: https://oceana.org/what-we-do

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