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15 Causes of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean – Effects

by Fitriani

Plastic pollution is a major concern in the world. It affects both land and the ocean. However, it is quite manageable to monitor plastic pollution on land than on water. Even most of the plastic waste on land end up polluting the ocean. The trouble of plastic pollutions seems to be getting worse and worse. People are aware of the danger but without knowing the cause they cannot contribute to clearing up the ocean. Here are 15 Causes of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean. Read these causes as you may be doing them right now.

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1. Affordable Plastic

Plastic is so affordable for industries to use. Since it is so cheap, plastic becomes a widespread material. Once it has become too much into the earth, they will end up in the ocean too.

2. Plastic Trash

Used plastic that are no longer good to use again will become trash. This trash will accumulate into bigger pile of garbage in the ocean.

3. Overconsumption

People over consume things. They buy products that may contain plastic material. When they buy too much of the products, many of the plastic elements surface in the ocean water.

4. Difficult to Break Down

Although there are some plastic that are already environmentally friendly, there are still some that are difficult to break down. Those plastic are non-biodegradable. It takes many years for them to break down and many float in the ocean water. The plastic continues the destruction of ocean habitat.

5. Overused

Since plastic is so readily available and cheap, it is overused. Overusing things is never good especially when it comes to plastic. Plastic is a very troublesome material that always end up in the ocean.

6. Population Growth

Increasing number of population means increasing demand for the production of plastic. More people will use plastic. That results in more plastic waste in the ocean. Plastic waste can also harm different species of coral.

7. Used to Make Many Things

Since plastic is easy to bend and form into something else, it is the perfect material for making different things. These products cause plastic to become popular. However, some will mostly pollute the ocean.

8. Urbanisation

Urbanisation has changed the way people live their lives. Many urban people demand faster service and cheaper products. Plastic helps a lot to fulfil those demands. Unfortunately the plastic waste in the ocean will also increase.

9. Reckless Waste Management

There are still some reckless waste management when it comes to plastic. Plastic is a dangerous material to burn as it releases toxic gas and fumes. Plenty of them somehow end up in the ocean water and cause destruction of ocean habitat.

10. Littering

Littering increases the chances of polluting the ocean. The more people litter, plastic will end up almost anywhere near the ocean water. Littered plastic will become a huge pile of plastic garbage in the water.

11. Food Packaging 

So many of our food packaging are contained inside plastic. Meals and snacks are wrapped in plastic because it is a considered safer method to preserve the food. However, people consume a lot of food each day and contributing to the plastic waste dumping.

12. Ships

Passing ships in the ocean usually dump their waste directly into the ocean. Those are the irresponsible ones. Their waste may contain plastic elements and materials that harm the ocean.

13. Nets from Fishing Industry

The fishing industry use many nets to carry out their activities. The nets are mostly made with plastic. But some of the nets are left out in the open ocean, adding more plastic waste to the ecosystem and end up causing destruction of ocean sea floor.

14. Bottled Water

People consume their water by buying bottled water as it is more practical and cheap. However, plastic bottles are very hard to break down. They end up polluting the ocean and harming the marine creatures.

15. Drinking Straws

Plastic straws are among one of the most useful items that you can use to drink your beverage. But you need to know that recycling drinking straws is impossible. Many end up in the landfills and also the oceans.

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Effects from Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

Since we already know most of the causes of plastic pollution in the ocean, now is the time to know the effects. The effects of plastic pollution is devastating for both humans and marine creatures which you can read below:

  • Marine Creatures Consuming Plastic: Many marine creatures will end up eating the plastic in the ocean. They do not know that what they are eating is actually harmful. The mistake the plastic for food.
  • Death to Marine Creatures: When marine creatures consume plastic, they may think that they feel full. But what they are eating is fake nutrients and may drive them to starvation. In the end, the marine creatures could die.
  • Getting Trapped in Plastic: Other than consuming plastic, many marine creatures can also end up trapped in plastic. Some will find it hard to set themselves free. Some will end up choking themselves and die.
  • Toxic Chemicals Leakage: Since plastic is made from already harmful chemicals, they will break down in the ocean dangerously. While the plastic are degrading, there is a high chance that they will leak toxic chemicals to the seafloor and the ocean water. This causes more ocean problems.
  • Disturbance in Food Chain: Plastic can poison plankton. Plankton is a very important part of the food chain. When there is a huge reduction in plankton then the whole food chain in the ocean faces danger.
  • Human Consuming Contaminated Fish: Human can also feel the harm from plastic pollution. When fish consume some small plastic, the chemicals will come into contact with their flesh. We then consume the fish unknowingly consuming plastic chemicals too.

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Now that you know both the causes and the effects of plastic pollution in the ocean, you can start toward working a better lifestyle that could help the ocean. The ocean is a major home to many marine creatures and yet we continue to destroy it. So the more we become aware of our actions and improve our way of living, the higher the chance we could give a second chance to the ocean to heal itself from the damage that we caused.

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