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Throwing Plastic Into the Ocean

Chris Lee

   The world's oceans, covering over 70% of the Earth's surface, are essential for sustaining life on our planet. They provide a habitat for a diverse array of marine creatures. That plays a vital role in regulating the climate, and supports various industries that rely on their resources. Unfortunately, these precious bodies of water are facing a grave threat - plastic pollution. One of the major contributors to this crisis is the irresponsible act of throwing plastic in the ocean. In this article, we delve into the detrimental impacts of this practice and highlight the urgency for a collective effort to put an end to this damaging behavior. 

    Due to its low cost, durability, and versatility, it has become an integral part of our modern lives.  However, its widespread usage has come with severe consequences. Each year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste make their way into the oceans, gradually forming massive floating garbage patches. These patches, like the well-known Great Pacific Garbage Patch, can span vast areas, harming marine ecosystems and wildlife. 

   Marine creatures are directly affected by plastic pollution. Discarded plastic items like bags, bottles, and fishing gear entangled marine animals, leading to injury, suffocation, and death. The ingestion of plastic is another major concern, as it can cause internal blockages, malnutrition, and  poisoning. Studies have shown that a significant number  of seabirds, turtles, fish, and marine mammals have ingested plastic particles, and the consequences can be devastating for entire populations. 

 Plastic pollution not only harms individual animals but disrupts entire marine ecosystems. Coral reefs, often referred to as the "rainforests of the sea," suffer as plastic debris smothers and damages these delicate structures. Microplastics, small plastic fragments less than 5mm in size, are ingested by various marine species, including filter-feeding organisms like mussels and krill. As these microplastics move up the food chain, they can accumulate in higher concentrations, posing potential risks to human health through seafood consumption.  Plastic pollution in the ocean has far-reaching consequences for the environment and the economy. Decomposing plastic releases toxic chemicals and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change. Moreover, coastal 

tourism, fishing industries, and marine-based economies suffer due to degraded habitats and reduced fish stocks caused by plastic pollution. 

   Throwing plastic in the ocean is an irresponsible and destructive practice that poses a severe threat to marine ecosystems, wildlife, and the well-being of the planet. As individuals, we must cultivate eco-friendly habits, avoid single-use plastics, and support initiatives that promote sustainable living. Governments and industries must work hand-in-hand to enact policies and practices that minimize plastic waste and foster a cleaner, healthier ocean environment. Only through united efforts can we hope to mitigate the perils of ocean plastic pollution and ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come.

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