The Realities of Marine Trash

What is Marine Trash?

Plastics completely covering a part of the Caribbean sea 
Photo taken from Caroline Power Photography

Marine trash is anything that is man-made and doesn't belong to the ocean. It can be intentionally dumped or unintentionally leaked into water bodies which then flows into our oceans. Catastrophic events can carry out large amounts of it into the ocean. This waste includes glass, metal, paper, textile, wood, rubber and plastics. It ranges from as micrometres to metres in size.

We live in a 'Plastic Age'

Plastic accounts for the most abundant material collected as marine trash. Here are the ways plastic endangers everyone - marine life and us:
  • Entanglement & ingestion, eventually, death
  • Introduction of invasive species, upsetting existing ecosystem balance
  • Interference with light penetration and oxygen exchange at the upper, most productive layer of the ocean
  • Bio-accumulation and bio-magnification of chemicals found in plastics 
  • Navigational hazards

So, what now?

Here's how we can help reduce waste entering our oceans, a step at a time:
  1. Ditch single-use plastic straws & invest in bamboo or metal straws
  2. Plan & develop a proper waste management system (this poses a much greater challenge for less developed countries)
  3. Innovative solutions dealing with plastic trash i.e. building roads using waste plastic

Undeniably, marine trash has become so border-less that an ocean as large as the Pacific can't stop trash from reaching even the most remote and isolated parts of the world.

This post was adapted from a post first published on The Dorsal Effect.

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