Plastic invented in the ’30s is now one of the most useful commodities on the planet but it’s also has become one of the greatest problems to our environment. It was in the ’70s when the pollution of plastic had been reported through scientific research and back then it was determined that 0.1% would wind up in the ocean but now that number has increased to 4.5%.
On September 11th at the Vancouver Aquarium, Canada officially declared to have joined the United Nations CleanSeas campaign in the make a conscious effort in overcoming the effects that plastic waste is having on the ocean.
The world produces 300 million tons of plastic annually, and 50% of that is plastic designed for one-time use.
More than 8 million metric tons of plastic debris gets dumped into the ocean yearly. That is the equivalent amount of standing in ankle-deep of discarded plastic which covers three times the size of Manhattan, and this happens every single year. If this continues, it’s calculated that there could be more scraps of plastic then fish in the water by the year 2050.
Canada and the CleanSeas campaign are teaming up with governments to rid the manufacturing of single-use plastic items and microbeads in the following five years. Canada has already started their efforts in defending the marine environment from unnecessary pollution. One of their first acts to fight against ocean wastes was to bane the manufacturing, importing, and sale of any toiletries that contain microbeads. This is just one decision in addressing the issue and Canada anticipates more action to follow in making a difference for marine life.
How Does Plastic Effects the Ocean?
Although plastic does a large amount of damage to life in the ocean, the life outside of the water is also affected, even birds. A marine biologist, Dr. Boris Worm, at the University of Dalhousie in Canada states that 90% of seabirds counting albatrosses, petrels and penguins are currently filled with plastic. Birds are unable to distinguish between food and plastic and when they see a something that resembles potential meal they snap it up.
After they consumed it, the piece of plastic gets stuck in their digestive system which disrupts their natural ability to feed or they cough it up for their young which also fills their little bodies with plastic and their demise. Trash has moved to the sensitive oceans of Arctic and many animals die from filling up on plastic or by being strangled in it.
Ocean Environmental Dangers
The ocean surrounds 71% of the globe and holds 97% of the water found on Earth. Canada promotes the well-being of marine life by making sure protected areas are in place, laws are improved and works out other strategies to ensure the ocean stays in great health. Over 80% of Canadians agree in protecting the areas of the ocean but there is much that threatens the water including, oil and gas, unsuitable fishing practices, open-net-pen fish farming, toxins and the most discussed issue of them all, climate change.
In fact, since the 1970s the ocean has been absorbing over 90% of emissions. The colder waters absorb half the amount of carbon that could make the ocean acidic and disturb marine ecosystem that people rely on, especially microorganisms. Although small, microorganism plays a big part in feeding bigger creatures, producing half of earth’s oxygen and a vital part in forming clouds. The Pacific, Arctic, and the Atlantic are all affected by climate change and the three oceans affect Canada in a huge way, both in Canada citizens and their economy.
Ocean Changes and Toxic Materials
Storms are more frequent and the appearance of violent hurricanes becomes more regular. The unnatural raising temperatures are reducing the water levels of sea ice and melting more of lands glaciers which makes the atmosphere more acceptable to storms.
A study flow of organic toxins, heavy metals are increasingly high especially in Canadian Arctic which has an effect on the immune system. The melting of the ice is releasing, even more, pollution that has been frozen for decades.