THE focus for this year’s World Oceans Day is encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future.
Plastic pollution poses a threat to human health, kills and harms marine life, damages and alters habitats and
can have substantial negative impacts on local economies. Unlike many ocean issues, The Ocean Project’s
research shows that pollution, especially plastics pollution, is already widely accepted as a big problem that
we need to and can address.
The first step – of avoiding disposable plastic bags – is likely to be seen as a difficult but not impossible way for an individual to help. More than 80 percent of marine litter comes from land-based sources. The primary direct threat to marine life is entanglement or ingestion. Sea turtles, birds and fish alike accidentally mistake plastic for food and choke or get sick by ingesting it.
Plastic pollution affects hundreds of different types of ocean wildlife, from massive whales to microscopic
corals. Ocean plastic trash has serious economic consequences for people, but it can also be dangerous to our health. Scientists are finding that chemicals in plastic consumed by fish may eventually travel up the food chain – and get into our bodies.
It’s distressing to think about how much plastic is almost unavoidable – sometimes, it can seem useless to take action. But if many of us act together, we can reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean and show the world that we demand less disposable plastic in our everyday lives.
It is everyone’s personal responsibility not only to not litter, but also to stop litter at the source by reducing use. Switch away from throw-away plastic packaging to durable, reusable solutions, both for your own health as well as for the oceans.
In this part of the world we have the amazing good fortune to have an ocean in our back yard. It’s part of our community and it’s up to us to keep it clean – and safe.
We can make a difference, especially if we work together.