Each year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up inside the sea. In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone, about 80,000 tons of debris find their way inside the ocean annually.
In recent years, plastic has continued to pose an increased level of threat to the ecosystem and human life in general. Most animals inside the sea ingest harmful chemicals such as microplastics which human consumption as well when they use these animals to prepare meals. It is estimated that about 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean annually.
The world generates a huge amount of plastic every year, large enough to build 50 pyramids of Giza. That automatically translates to over 350 million tons of candy wrappers, synthetic T-shirt and PVC pipes. 8 million tons end up in the sea while the rest end up in landfills each year. Most of them find their way into massive garbage patches in different parts of the world. A good example of such is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Each piece of plastic picked in this patch would result in 1.8 million individual parts. Such could weigh up to 80,000 tons which is equivalent to the weight of three statutes of liberty.
Half of the patch comprises of plastic fishing nets, ropes and lines as a result of the fishing activities performed in the area. The other half is made up of films and hard plastics such as plastic wraps and water bottles. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch does not refer to a mountain of debris as the name implies, rather it relates to waste that is scattered over an oceanic region that is twice the size of Texas alone.
It will take you 121 days to pick up every piece of plastic on the ocean at a walking pace of 5 km/hr. But the garbage patch has no end in reality because it is constantly flowing with the ocean currents. The size of the patch is getting bigger, and for 70 years, its size has been on the increase. The permanent nature of plastics causes this. For instance, a plastic fishing line will take at least 600 years to decompose.
Even after they break down, the resultant effect will still linger on the environment. Some of them decompose into microplastic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. But sea animals can ingest them, and when humans consume these animals, their health is automatically in danger. According to recent studies, every species of sea turtle has ingested these harmful microplastics including 60% of whales and seabirds.
Even at that, plastic is heaped unto the ocean on a daily basis. It has been estimated that by the year 2050, the number of plastics in the ocean will be more than the entire species of fishes in the oceans of the world.
When next you toss a water bottle inside the sea, have a deep thought on its recycling effect and how it is harmful to sea life and human life. You can contribute your quota to help make the environment safe for habitation.
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