The Role of Humans in Ocean Pollution

By: Edsel Ortiz
OwlFeed Journalist

No one can resist a nice day at the beach during the summer, and a refreshing swim in the ocean. That would be nice if Earth’s water wasn’t loaded with trash.

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Not too long ago, a whale was found on the shore of the Philippines, with 88 pounds of plastic bags in its stomach. ”Roughly 40 kilos of rice sacks, grocery bags, banana plantation bags, and general plastic bags. Sixteen rice sacks in total,” Darrell Blatchley told Matthew Robinson at CNN.

“Between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year—enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet!” said Brian Hutchinson at Ocean Society.

One of the biggest sources of ocean pollution is known as nonpoint source pollution, “…many small sources, like septic tanks, cars, trucks, and boats, plus larger sources, such as farms, livestock ranches, and timber harvest areas,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

So much plastic going to the ocean will affect marine life. “Hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins, seals, and turtles are killed by ocean plastic pollution every year,” said Peter Kemple Hardy, a campaigner at World Animal Protection told CNN.

Chemical spills into the ocean can not only affect marine life, but it can also affect mankind. 97 percent of the world’s water supply is provided by our oceans. “If humans are exposed to these toxic chemicals for long periods of time, then this can result in dangerous health problems, which include hormonal issues, reproductive issues, and damage to our nervous systems and kidneys,” said PlanetAid.

Ocean pollution can impact our seafood – if you are a lover of seafood then this is definitely a problem. “Heavy metals and other contaminants can accumulate in seafood and make it harmful to eat,” says National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Every single day, chemicals and trash go into our ocean on purpose or it somehow ends up in our oceans through factories or any other industrial source. ”Chemicals such as oil, mercury, lead, pesticides, and other heavy metals can all be found within the ocean and can contaminate water supplies and our food chain by affecting the marine life involved,” said Andrew Dilevics from PlanetAid.

One way you can help to stop ocean pollution is to recycle properly because “Recycling helps keep plastics out of the ocean and reduces the amount of ‘new’ plastic in circulation,” said Ocean Society.

Avoid products containing microbeads. ”Microbeads are found in some face scrubs, toothpaste, and body wash,” said Brian Hutchinson. These products can end up in our oceans through our sewer systems and affect marine life.

Ocean pollution is a big problem that has affected mankind all around the world, so how will Earth’s oceans improve over time?