Warning: Oceans are Turning into LandfillsFebruary 2, 2021
Oceans are Turning into Landfills: The situation in our oceans is worse then ever. It’s time to review the facts, and to discuss what we as individuals can do to help.
By Jennifer Hanzlick
What do smart people do when they hear a warning? They gather the facts to assess the validity of the warning and then search for a solution. When it comes to the problem of excessive trash in the oceans, the warning is this: the world’s largest bodies of water are becoming landfills of last resort. So, what are the facts and what can we do to resolve the problem?
Oceans are Turning into Landfills – The Facts
Every minute of every hour of every day, the world’s oceans take on more debris in the form of paper, plastic, rubber, wood, and dozens of other substances that make up the contents of a typical urban garbage dumpster.
Workers for the Ocean Conservancy have gathered more than 110,000 tons of trash from the oceans since 1990. That shocking statistic has a kicker: those 110,000 tons are just a tiny percentage of all the human-generated trash currently floating in the world’s oceans.
What are some other relevant facts that highlight this crisis?
- Every year, 8 million additional metric tons of trash end up in the oceans
- At the current rate of trash build-up, the world’s largest bodies of water will soon have almost as much trash, by weight, as they do fish
- Trash in the watery ecosystem isn’t just ugly and smelly; it poses a critical health risk to the human race
- Sea currents and wind patterns naturally collect garbage into giant flotillas, which then travel all over the world
- The “Pacific garbage patch” is two times the size of Texas. The patch is composed of car parts, plastic and glass bottles, mattresses, cigarette butts, broken chunks of old boats, and just about anything you can imagine
- Trash patches threaten nearly every form of aquatic life
- The most common substance in the patches is microscopic plastic, aka “micro plastic”
- Some sea life, like turtles, can’t tell the difference between their usual food sources and plastic bags, and end up eating garbage and dying. That’s because the bags resemble the turtle’s favorite natural food: jellyfish
- Trash blocks sunlight from penetrating the surface of the water in many places. That means life forms like algae and plankton die out and are no longer able to serve as a food source for fish
- The ocean trash problem is as bad as it has ever been but continues to get worse with each passing year
- Plastic never breaks down, ever, and continues to pose as threat to aquatic life as long as floating in the ocean
- As toxic substances enter the food chain via sea organisms, it will inevitably end up posing a problem for human beings. “What goes around, comes around” is the principle, and unless we act quickly and decisively, the ocean trash problem could haunt everyone on the planet
Action speaks louder than words. Facts are facts, but they have a tendency to sit there and do nothing. Unless we turn our knowledge of these appalling facts into action, the entire discussion is nothing more than an intellectual exercise, a worthless parlor game of “Isn’t that amazing!”
Consider choosing as many of the following actions as possible. That way, you’ll become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
- Stop littering right now
- Don’t use toxic lawn chemicals. Use environmentally substances instead
- Join or donate to an organization that is dedicated to solving the ocean trash problem
- Cut down on your personal use of single-use plastic bottles and plastic straws
- Conserve water
- Volunteer for local trash cleanups
- Don’t support corporations that ignore the ocean debris problem. Become informed about which companies act responsibly and which ones don’t
- Educate your friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the problem
- Only vote for politicians who support clean oceans
- Make a written list of the actions you plan to take in order to make the oceans cleaner
It’s easy to assume that large organizations will do all the work. Unfortunately, it’s individuals who do the work. That’s why it’s vital to start today and never underestimate the power of your own actions. It’s possible to save the oceans if we all do our part.
About the Author:
Jennifer Hanzlick is an Entrepreneur, Speaker and Hoarding Expert. She was inspired to create a business to help people remove the junk and clutter from their homes. She found out many people are overwhelmed with the amount of clutter or junk in their homes. They want to get rid of it but don’t know where to start and need extra help. And this is how Clutter Trucker was born!