Will we ever be able to pull together to rid our oceans of plastic and cigarette butts?

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I have been doing some research about how bad our plastic situation is in our oceans and i found that there is now 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic in our ocean & 46,000 pieces in every square mile of ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tonnes. Every day around 8 million pieces of plastic makes their way into our oceans. This is some devastating information to read and know that our oceans are suffering that much.

This is an image of the horrid garbage patch that is located between America and Japan. This patch has been named the Pacific Trash Vortex.

The number one most common piece of ocean trash is cigarette butts. The Ocean Conservancy’s 2018 International Coastal Cleanup Report said that 2,412,151 cigarette butts were collected worldwide in 2017. This is an increase from the 1,863,838 butts collected around the world in 2016. The worst part about these butts is that they release toxic chemicals and take around 18 months to 10 years to dissolve! 

As you can see these cigarette butts are very harmful to animals because once eaten they release harmful chemicals and stay in their body for a long time.

Cigarette Butts

Research has shown that harmful chemicals leached from discarded butts include nicotine, arsenic, and heavy metals, which can be quite toxic to aquatic organisms and birdlife. 

The Ocean Conservancy has been conducting beach clean-ups over the last 32 years and cigarette butts, which are the single most collected pieces of trash and there are around 5.6 trillion cigarette butts in our oceans which is truly awful. 

The main sources of marine plastic are land-based, from storm runoff, sewer overflows, beach visitors, inadequate waste disposal, industrial activities, construction, and illegal dumping. Ocean-based plastic originates mainly from the fishing industry, nautical activities.

Our Plastic

Our oceans’ biggest waste killer is plastic such as plastic bags which are the worst for our ocean wildlife because it suffocates them or traps our animals. As well, the plastic Gatorade holders get stuck around their head or other limbs and eventually kill them.

Our Oceans’ Worldwide Polluters

Possible Solutions or Efforts to Improve our Oceans health.

First off, I think we need to stop producing and selling all styrofoam because it only harms the environment. It is not biodegradable and sits in our oceans harming our wildlife. Another one is plastic, we need to try and reduce how much plastic is used for packaging and for foods. We need to try and use cardboard and paper instead of stuffing packages with plastic and instead of using plastic bags which are extremely hazardous when put into the oceans because they can be consumed by an animal and maybe trap them. 

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Hey Nate, I think this is such a prevalent topic and a very meaningful one as well. I like the combination of facts and opinions which create a true sense of emotion towards the problem and motivation to help fix this problem. Awesome work!

  2. Hey Nate, I think this project is really cool and doing it for a good cause. The facts you included made it easy to understand the damage we are doing to the world.

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