How does pollution affect the ocean, and how can we stop it?
Over 100 million marine mammals die from plastic each year! Thousands of tons of waste are dumped in the ocean each year. Marine life is dying because of ocean pollution. Whose fault is it? OURS! We need to stop polluting the oceans! In my opinion, people are polluting the ocean with littering, oil spills, and chemicals.
Since littering is a big part of the ocean pollution, we need to find a way to fix it. If everyone would stop polluting the ocean, then the ocean would be cleaner. For example, if the fish eat too much plastic, and all of them have plastic in them, we will have no fish. Even though plastic is inexpensive and used in our everyday life, it also kills marine life. Fish is a good source of protein for mammals. Items that are littered include plastic straws, forks, cups, spoons, plates, styrofoam, etc. Sand toys will be buried at the beach, and when they resurface they will be taken out to sea. People bring a lot of plastic things to the beach such as, sunglasses, sunscreen bottles, chip bags, bags, and soda. When I went on a beach cleanup in Newport Harbor in the fall, I found 60 cigarette butts. Sea turtles think plastic bags are jellyfish, which is not good. They will eat them, and they may die. There is one place in the Pacific Ocean that most everyone knows about. The Great Pacific garbage patch. It is halfway between Hawaii and California. Sadly, it has a bunch of plastic floating in it. It’s not just big plastic bags and bottles. The patch has microplastics, too. One guy said, “It feels like swimming in juice.” Eventually, if we don’t do anything, at every beach will feel like we’re swimming in juice. Do you know what’s really sad? When seagulls eat plastic they feel full. Therefore they will not eat, and starve to death. This will affect the food chain, which will affect us. Polystyrene has been found in fish. Polystyrene is the white box that you find your food in. According to Los Angeles Times, San Diego may ban polystyrene! Other cities have already banned it, and Los Angeles is thinking about doing it, too.
Oil Spills are also dangerous for the ocean. We need oil for electricity and gasoline but if it leaks in the ocean, it’s not good. It gets on the feathers of seabird, which will make them cold, and they will get hypothermia. This is same with sea otters. Since they have no blubber, they have a thick coat. If they get oil on it, they will also get hypothermia. Also, oil on sea otters is bad because it irritates their skin. The biggest oil spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico. On April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon, a ship, was holding oil. It spilled more than 200 million gallons into the ocean! Oil spills are usually no one’s fault, but if we use less oil, there will be less oil spills. When the oil spills, it floats. This is since oil is less dense than water. This means birds cannot float and may drown. It will spread out being pushed by water and wind. Another way to help with oil spills is put less oil in a ship but have more ships. “According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million liters) of petroleum are spilled into U.S. waters from vessels and pipelines in a typical year,” according to Live Science.
When chemicals leak into the ocean, it kills marine life. Pesticides are a major chemical that leaks into the ocean. Pesticides will run down from hills when it rains and get into the ocean. This is not good because it can give animals diseases. Some people don’t like to eat plants that are grown with pesticides. It is dangerous in the ocean, and can kill animals. Since there are usually cliffs by bodies of water, chemicals wash down the side of the cliff when it rains. Another chemical is dispersants. There is no point in them. Dispersants are supposed to clean oil spills, but just sinks the oil to the bottom of the ocean. The oil is still there. Although it makes the ocean look better at the surface, it keeps the oil in the ocean and adds more chemicals.
As you can see, ocean pollution is deadly to man, plants, and animals. We need to stop polluting the ocean with littering, oil spills, and chemicals. There are many ways we can help. Participate in a local beach cleanup, even a river or creek cleanup. We can also just pick up trash off the ground if we see it. Use less oil, and don’t use pesticides.