The majority of trash in our ocean is made of plastic. An estimated 60% to 80% of all marine debris is plastic. Plastic does not biodegrade in sea water. It breaks down into infinitely smaller pieces when exposed to sunlight (some particles are smaller than a centimeter) and remains in the ocean for hundreds of years.
Some of the highest concentrations of plastic pollution in the environment are found floating in an area of the Pacific Ocean called the North Pacific Gyre, which is commonly referred to as the “Pacific Garbage Patch.”. The Pacific Garbage Patch is a plastic soup estimated to be twice the size of Texas and it contains an estimated six times more plastic than plankton by mass.
In addition to spoiling the beauty of our beaches and coast, plastic trash poses a significant threat to marine life. Animals eat plastics, mistaking them for food, and can actually starve to death because their stomachs are so full of trash. Plastics can also trap and entangle animals, wounding or killing them.
One of the most dangerous types of plastic pollution is plastic bags. Plastic bags (which resemble jelly fish in the water) can easily be mistaken for food or prey by seabirds, marine mammals, fish, and sea turtles.
You can help
We need to put an end to plastic pollution, and there is no better time than right now. We need your help.
Make wise purchases. Buy things in glass or metal containers. If it has to come in plastic, try to make sure it’s recyclable. Never buy anything packaged in Styrofoam.
If you see a piece of trash on the street, pick it up.
Use a reusable bag when you go to the market.
Cut plastic six-pack rings or other plastic rings (like packing straps) into little pieces before discarding them to prevent marine animals from becoming entangled in them.
Tell your friends to ditch their plastic bottles and bags and go reusable instead.