The trash in the oceans throughout the world is beginning to paralyze our ecosystem. It’s been happening for years, and scientists – as well as researchers have been pointing repeatedly to the amount of garbage that is floating around the oceans around the world. Now though, scientists and the rest of the world have some of the most concrete data that they have seen to date on just how much trash is floating around the waters on Earth.
Specifically, this study looked at the amount of plastic in the waters around the world. The results, according to Marcus Eriksen, the research director for the LA-based 5 Gyres Institute indicate that “there’s much more plastic pollution out there than recent estimates suggest.” Those estimations cross 269,000 tons of plastic debris that are floating around the ocean.
The worst part of the issue is that it isn’t just one particular thing that is clogging up our waterways. Instead, it’s a little bit of everything – and now – is becoming a lot of everything. The study pointed out that 92% of the plastic that exists in the ocean is what’s known as “microplastic” which is a particle or piece from a larger piece of plastic. They can range in size from a grain of sand to a large fragment from something significantly larger like a refrigerator. Sea animals like dolphins, sea turtles, and many more all deal with the real consequences of our littering by seeing significant drops in population in many of those animals. Whether it’s a dolphin becoming entangled by the net or another eating something that it believes is typical food – when in reality is a chunk of plastic – all point to a larger problem.
Scientists point out that oftentimes, these plastic pieces or particles are lost from the coastline and then pulled out into major currents which ultimately turn the ocean into a “trash blender” of the sorts. Waves, animals, and the sun all beat the plastic items and shred them into tiny pieces – meanwhile further plaguing the ocean and its wildlife.
Even on coastal regions many of these plastic items are an eyesore as much of it washes up on shore and then accumulates – waiting to be picked up by those who see the problem growing at an exponential rate.