Sea the Plastic

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Sea the Plastic

Meghan Abbott, Writer

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Three seconds on the lips, 1,000 years in the rips. Plastic water bottles take 1,000 years to break down. After they break down they aren’t gone just yet, they are microplastic and microfibers, that sea animals eat. The microplastic can esley make its way into the flesh of a fish, but what consumes those? We do. 

 

Humans consume about five grams, globally, of plastic a week, according to CNN Health.That’s about the size of a credit card we are ingesting every single week of our lives that will not break down at all, and some don’t even know it. Some might think that microplastic can’t do much harm to a human because they are so small, but it will add up very quickly. Not to mention, there are toxic chemicals within the plastic, when exposed to heat, which are known to sometimes cause cancer, according to Verywellhealth.com.  

 

A person can ingest microplastics through a glass of water right from home, breathing in air with plastic particles is possible anywhere , or through the plastic packaging of  food that could start to combine with the product, according to nationalgeographic.com. Plastic is everywhere now, unfortunately due to that, it is found mostly in the seas. Over 12.7 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, according to The National History Museum. Beaches are being cluttered to the point where nothing can move, be seen, or be grown. People will want to stay home, or feel they can throw their trash anywhere since this world is so far gone and that there is no hope whatsoever in saving it. 

 

A small piece of plastic can affect the smallest sea animal to the largest. January 29, 2019 a Bryde Whale died and washed up on shore due to the consumption of a seven inch piece of plastic. November 21, 2018, a sperm whale found dead with 100 plastic cups, four plastic water bottles, 25 plastic bags, and two flip flops in its stomach. January 31, 2018, multiple dolphins and seals found dead on a shore in Britain due to microplastic in their systems. Scientists started testing one liter of water and found seven to eight pieces of microplastic that humans are drinking. If microplastics and other plastics can do that much damage to the biggest animals on earth, when will it start to affect us as well? 

 

Zara Wheeler, a central coast surfer and future beach lifeguard, witnessed a “truly heartbreaking” experience.  “One incident I was a part of was when my family and I were walking on a bach and came across a seal that was not acting right. My guess was that the seal was chemically poisoned.” Wheeler and her family called the Marine Life Rescue just in time to save the seal. They later got a call from the Rescue that the seal was safely treated and was released back into the ocean. “Saving the turtles has become a trend but people also need to notice the other fatal incidents that happen and as humans we should feel called to be stewards of our decisions, creations, and actions”, Wheeler wishes that all people can live a life style that respects the earth. “I saw a little seagull trapped in a soda can on the beach and was so sad to see what this earth has come to” says Gigi woodmen a central coast surfer. 

 

According to Sea Turtle Conservancy, over 1 million marine animals die from plastic each yearPeople know animals are dying but yet they still think that one piece of trash that didn’t make it to the trash can, or blew away and didn’t want to go running after it, will be fine. According to worldometers.info there is 7.7 billion people on this earth probably all thinking the same thing! Only about ten percent of people try to help and pick up trash. Granted, trash will not come from every single person every single second, but more than half is likely to add a piece of pollution onto the growing pile of destruction.

 

 No matter how small or how big the piece of trash is, it still ends up in our ocean damaging the ecosystem on both land and water but much greater in the ocean. The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the ocean every minute, abbording to blog.vonwong.com There are 1,440 minutes in a single day. One truck load weighs about 250 pounds, according to greenpeace.org, thats 360,000 pounds of trash going into our beloved ocean everyday. 

 

The animals find plastic and can’t decide if its food which leads to the animals ingesting the non-digestible product. It stays in their stomach and they feel full so they stop eating, sadly they starve to death just like the animals that washed up on shore. About 15 species of sea animals have gone extinct or vanished from the ocean because of plastic pollution, according to businessinsider.com. Phytoplankton contribute 75 percent of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. The other 25 percent comes from the land, but some scientists found that phytoplankton levels have declined 40 percent since 1950 due to warming of the oceans waters, according to earthsky.org. This earth can not survive on 25 percent of air contribution. 

 

Due to climate change the temperatures in oceans are increasing dramatically. Fossil fuels in transportation, manufacturing and communications have greatly impacted the rising levels but the type of plastic that is the major source of dioxin is PVC and phthalates, according to aps.org. Those are another toxic chemical added to plastics to make them softer and more pliable. When made, these toxic fumes are released into the air causing the terrifying change in temperatures of the waters. 

 

As of the 4th of July 2019, Alaska hit 90 degrees, you know, the place with all the ice, its disappearing rapidly. According to nbcnews.com, the glaciers are melting and causing the ocean to rise but also become warmer in other parts of the world. The phytoplankton can’t truly survive in the warmer waters as they are continuing to decrees affecting our air supplies. Will the phytoplankton be the next to go extinct, if so what on earth are we going to do? 

 

Even the ocean’s deepest reaches are not safe, the Mariana Trench. During a dive down to the bottom, which is 36,070 feet, National Geographic scientists found a far too familiar yet terrifying species, a plastic bag. If plastic is making its way to the bottom of the 7 mile trench, then we need to change something, now! 

 

The next time you are at the beach don’t feel embarrassed to pick up trash or even carry a tout bag specifically for trash. If people give you weird looks, just remember you are saving a life today. Hope is and will always be there to try and fix what we have done. The plastic will not stop being made but people might start seeing the horrible things going on in this world to try and start to change.