The future of our oceans is certainly at stake and with it, the existence of millions of aquatic species is also questioned. Considering the issues of coral bleaching, rise in sea level due to climate change and plastic pollution, the oceans and life in it is being alarmingly threatened. As stated in a recent UK Government report, the level of plastic littering in the whole world is expected to get tripled within a decade.
As per the Foresight Future of the Sea report, science and technology plays the most vital role in comprehending the impact of plastic on oceans and addressing the long-term issues by providing effective solutions and its potential in contributing to global warming and climate change. It states that; without any sort of intervention, the amount of ocean plastic is expected to rise rapidly. The plastic in sea does not decompose and on the contrary, it breaks down by forming multiple smaller pieces, thereby harming the aquatic creatures and birds as they get clogged in their digestive tracts and limiting their movements.
Below here are some of the striking findings of the report.
. 99.9 percent of the total amount of debris disposed in oceans are plastics.
. Above 75 percent of the total amount of plastic in oceans was observed to be larger than 5cm, including hard plastic and plastic sheets and 46 percent of it are fishing nets.
. Fifty samples being collected from the ocean plastic provided the following readable production dates: one from 1977, seven from 1980s, seventeen from 1990s, twenty four from 2000s and one from 2010.
. Bottles, lids, containers, fishing nets, ropes and straps were among some of the smaller identified objects, although most of the items were being found broken into fragments.
Wind and its converging ocean currents are the main stimulants of accumulating garbage in the 5 ocean areas of which, the largest is having around 1.8 trillion plastic pieces, situated between California and Hawaii. It is important to note that; the ocean covers around 70% of the total surface of the world and extremely essential for regulating the levels of water, oxygen, global temperature and carbon dioxide. However, as per the appalling facts of the report, the disturbances observed by the sea will encounter crucial implications on infrastructure, global biodiversity, progress of the marine economy and human health. Some of the other major challenges including ocean warming, marine biodiversity threats, rise in sea levels and chemical pollution.
Considering this steady rise in the level of plastic pollution and its relevance with global warming and climate change, the report has recommended people to combat it by eliminating the use of plastic. It talked about the introduction of biodegradable plastics and aware the mass by launching successful campaigns on marine protection.