From Pollution To Solution

December 7, 2022

Every year about 8 million tons of plastic get tossed into the ocean. That’s about 16 billion pounds of plastic in the sea yearly. Scientists have predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean if ocean pollution continues. But we can stop that by saving water and using alternatives to plastic.


Causes of Ocean Pollution

There are many causes of ocean pollution besides plastic that affect marine life such as runoff. Runoff is caused when rain or snow moves pollutants to the ocean. For example, after rainstorms water will run off the road to the ocean taking the oil from the cars to the sea with them. The most common cause of ocean pollution is littering. Littering is caused when people dump trash on the ground that eventually gets swept by the wind causing materials like plastic bags and styrofoam cups that can not decompose to enter the ocean. 


Effects of Ocean Pollution 

It is no surprise that ocean pollution causes harm to marine life, but did you know, it also causes harm to human life as well? Pollutants in the ocean make their way back to humans. This can lead to long-term health conditions, cancer, and birth defects. When the toxins in contaminated animals enter human tissue, it can lead to birth defects and other serious health problems. Not only can this affect human life, but Ocean pollution

 also affects our oxygen. As too much dust in the ocean slowly degrades over time, it produces gases, resulting in less oxygen in the ocean. Ocean animals such as penguins, dolphins, whales, and sharks die as a result of low oxygen levels. Excess phosphorus and nitrogen in seawater also play a part in dehydration. When a large amount of oxygen is drained in an environment, ocean pollution affects marine life. Marine life is the most vulnerable species to ocean pollution. Marine animals mistake plastic for food or they can become tangled in plastic which results in them suffocating and dying. Dolphins, fish, sharks, turtles, seabirds, and crabs are some of the most vulnerable to ocean pollution. 


Ways to Help Stop Ocean Pollution 

Though Ocean Pollution is getting worst there are many ways to help prevent it in the future. Things like reducing your use of single-use plastics. Single-use plastics include plastic bags, water bottles, straws, cups, utensils, dry cleaning bags, take-out containers, and any other plastic items that are used once and then discarded. The best way to do this is to refuse all single-use plastics and instead buy and carry reusable versions of those items, such as reusable grocery bags, produce bags, bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and dry-cleaning garment bags. Changes in our behaviors are important, but they are incomplete to stop ocean plastic pollution. We also require legislation to reduce plastic production, improve waste management, and hold plastic producers accountable for the waste they create.  According to Philip Landrigan director of the Boston college global observatory on pollution, he says “The key thing to realize about ocean pollution is that, like all forms of pollution, it can be prevented using laws, policies technology, and enforcement actions that target the most pollution sources,” Meaning that we can create laws that can hold people and companies responsible for ocean pollution accountable. Another way to prevent ocean pollution is by participating in your local beach clean-up or even better organizing one! This is one of the most direct and rewarding ways to fight ocean plastic pollution. You can simply go to the beach or waterway and collect plastic waste on your own or with friends or family. 


Alternatives to Plastic 

One of the most important ways to fight ocean pollution is using alternatives to plastic for example instead of buying plastic water bottles that just go to waste you can buy a metal water bottle, metal water bottle is very accessible you can buy them at your local Walmart. Not only are they easily accessible they are easy to clean, and stainless steel options for reusable food and beverage storage have also multiplied in recent years. I believe as residents of Oxnard I think we should take ocean pollution very seriously because we live right next to the beach trash that we throw on the ground eventually gets into the ocean contributing even more waste into the ocean. As people who live near the beach, we carry a responsibility to keep our oceans safe and clean and help show the next generation how to prevent ocean pollution.

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