It directly chokes and smothers a host of marine animals and habitats and can take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic has entered the food chain through fish and other marine animals. Mary Flora Hart is a UK-based freelance illustrator specialising in immersive scenes with high levels of detail. Emma Bryce, Mary Flora Hart. How does plastic affect them? So when humans eat seafood, we’re consuming these, too. Recycling plastic wherever possible is also important. 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The rest went into landfills, rivers, and oceans. "Plastics are very hard materials so they are hard to break down unless you can burn them," said Professor Holmes. This has led to huge successes in the past, such as the ban in the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries on using microbeads – tiny spheres made of plastic – in toiletries and cosmetics. However, just one piece of plastic can harm sea life and disrupt ecosystems. But the only way to truly solve this problem is to dramatically reduce the production of plastic, which means curbing our addiction to it. Analyses so far have suggested that microplastics don’t necessarily pose a risk to human health. Microplastics are a major part of the issue. But have you ever thought about exactly how plastic affects our oceans and marine life? Preliminary research suggests that when animals consume these toxin-infused particles, it could damage their organs, make them more susceptible to disease, and alter their reproduction. Advances in developing biodegradable plastics could also have a huge impact on ocean health: researchers are currently working on a bioplastic that degrades in seawater, which could ultimately reduce the amount of waste that accumulates there. This ubiquitous material is designed to be very durable – and as a result much of it doesn’t biodegrade. That’s equivalent to one truckload dumped into the sea every minute of the day. Similarly, in China government action on plastics led to a countrywide ban in 2008 on thin, single-use carrier bags. It’s an inescapable epidemic, and it continues to surround us every day. In fact, just 10 rivers worldwide, eight of them originating in Asia, are responsible for the bulk of river-borne plastic that enters the oceans: China’s Yangtze is the biggest source, contributing 1.5 million metric tonnes each year. The Maritime Executive The Maritime Executive A lot of people think that paper bags are a good alternative, but unfortunately, this isn’t true as they still negatively affect … When rubbish is being transported to landfill, plastic is often blown away because it’s so lightweight. A big reason for this is that 50% of the plastic we produce is single use, meaning it’s intended to be thrown away immediately after it has served its purpose – like straws, plastic carrier bags and water bottles. Additionally, a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die annually because of plastic waste. I found this website helpful in describing the how marine waste has compiled into the different plastic islands. During the Arctic Sunrise ship’s recent expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of high concentration of plastic debris in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the crew found evidence of fish, crabs, and barnacles living in nets, plastic water bottles and body care product packaging. Ocean Pollution has put our oceans at the brink of disaster. Along the way, it infiltrates ecosystems and causes untold harm to marine life. Some of these plastic toxins are linked to hormonal abnormalities, and developmental problems. Extreme weather and high winds brings it there, and pollution along coastlines gets swiftly hauled out by the tides. During the Arctic Sunrise ship’s recent expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of high concentration of plastic debris in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the crew found evidence of fish, crabs, and barnacles living in nets, plastic water bottles and body care product packaging. “The plastic that enters the ocean can be carried vast distances by currents to all parts of the world, including remote Antarctica and the Mariana trench, the deepest place on Earth,” says Winnie Lau, senior officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Preventing Ocean Plastics campaign. The dangerous problem of microplastic pollution is a well-documented one; with as many as 12 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year, its impact on marine flora and fauna is monumental. These microplastics scatter across the globe, even to the depths of the ocean. There are five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 1.6 million square kilometers , which is twice the … What’s the impact on marine life? Estimates suggest there could be upwards of 5 trillion individual pieces of plastic floating in the ocean. According to a recent study, scientists concluded that corals that come into contact with plastic have an 89 percent chance of contracting disease, compared with a 4 percent likelihood for corals that do not.. Plastic is almost inescapable in our daily lives. Once animals consume it, ingested plastic can pierce internal organs or cause fatal intestinal blockages; it also leads to starvation, because a stomach crammed with plastic gives an animal the illusion of being full. Maybe as far as the Arctic. The ocean is also the endpoint for thousands of rivers, which carry tonnes of loose litter and waste from landfills, ultimately depositing it into the sea. Abandoned plastic fishing nets and longlines – known as ghost gear – is also a large source, making up about 10% of plastic waste at sea. Likewise, Itss even found the many other things made of plastic is even eaten by animals. 12-03-2020 10:02:34. Project Green Bag. This lesson is focuses on the physical harm caused by plastics to marine organisms. How Does Plastic Pollution Affect the Ocean? Once ingested, sharp plastic pieces can cause internal injuries, or the plastic builds up in their stomach until they can’t digest food. The bottom line is us. Every year, one million sea birds and 100,000 marine animals are killed due to plastic in oceans. Some of the plastic in the ocean originates from ships that lose cargo at sea. Microplastics look similar to plankton, too, which is food for hundreds of species at the base of the food chain, meaning plastic infiltrates entire ecosystems. Plastics break down into small fragments in the ocean(Malin Jacob) Plastic is made to be strong and durable, so it can take a long time to break down. Everywhere you look, plastic is rearing its ugly head. As fish die, other animals up the food chain will suffer, all because one part of the ecosystem failed. Floating plastic also accumulates microbes and algae on the surface that gives it an odour that’s appetising to some sea animals.