The ocean remains one of the most expansive, mysterious and diverse places on Earth. Unfortunately, it is being threatened by pollution from people on land and from natural causes.

Marine life is dying, and as a result the whole oceanic ecosystem is threatened simply by various sources of pollution. If we are to preserve ocean and its natural beauty, drastic measures have to be taken to combat this pollution and keep what we hold most dear.

Before, it was assumed that because the ocean was so big, vast and deep, that the effects of dumping trash and litter into the sea would only have minimal consequences. But as we have seen, this has proven to not be the case.

While all four oceans have suffered as a result of human consequence for over millennia by now, it has accelerated in the past few decades. Oil spills, toxic wastes, floating plastic and various other factors have all contributed to the pollution of the ocean.

Here are ten shocking facts about how much plastic is in the oceans

1. Every half second, this much plastic makes it into the world’s oceans:

facts plastic pollution
Taken at the UN’s Clean Seas Exhibit in New York

2. Plastic is the most common element that is found in the ocean. It is harmful for the environment as it does not get break down easily and is often considered as food by marine animals.

3. Over one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution each year. Three hundred thousand dolphins and porpoises die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items. One hundred thousand sea mammals are killed in the ocean by pollution each year.

4.There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.

ocean plastic pollution
A man collects plastic and other recyclable materials from debris in the waters of Manila Bay after tropical storm Saola hit the Philippine capital July 30, 2012.

5. More than 50 percent of sea turtles have consumed plastic.

sea turtle ocean plastic pollution

6. The amount of plastic in the world’s oceans could increase by a factor of 10 in the next decade.

7. Even though much the trash and waste dumped into the ocean is released hundreds of miles away from land, it still washes up on beaches and coastal areas, and affects everything in between. Every marine animal is affected by man-made chemicals released in the water.

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8. Cigarette butts, plastic bags, fishing gear, and food and beverage containers are the most common forms of plastic pollution found in the oceans.

ocean plastic pollution most common items

9. There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas inside the Pacific Ocean: the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is the largest oceanic garbage site in the entire world. There, the number of floating plastic pieces outnumbers total marine life six to one in the immediate vicinity.

10. Small animals at the bottom of food chain absorb the chemicals as part of their food. These small animals are then eaten by larger animals that again increases the concentration of chemicals. Animals at the top of hierarchy of food chain have contamination levels millions times higher than the water in which they live.

11. As 70% of the earth is covered with water, people actually assumed that all pollutants would be diluted and get disappeared. But in reality, they have not disappeared and their effects can be easily seen as they have entered the food chain.

12.  Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century…

13. David Attenborough warned in this week’s Blue Planet that “the oceans are under threat now as never before in human history”.

 Looking at the data, it’s hard to come to a different conclusion. It is estimated that there is now a 1:2 ratio of plastic to plankton and, left unchecked, plastic will outweigh fish by 2050.

facts plastic ocean pollution

14. 322 million tons of plastic were produced in 2015—the same weight as 900 Empire State Buildings (which is made of granite and steel).

15. The average U.S. citizen consumes 167 plastic water bottles each year—but recycles just 25 percent of them.

 

 

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