Save Our Oceans from a Plastic Apocalypse
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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site
Everyone needs to play a part in cleaning up our oceans and saving marine wildlife. Sign the pledge!
Long before COVID-19 was even a thing, the world was suffering from a global crisis.
Our oceans are blighted with billions of pounds of plastic, which now cover at least 40 percent of all ocean surface water. At current rates plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 20501.
An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates there are somewhere between 20 million and 1.8 billion pieces of plastic along the coastline of the United States alone2.
This is much more than a mere aesthetic problem.
Plastic debris harms physical habitats, transports chemical pollutants, threatens aquatic life, and interferes with human uses of river, marine and coastal environments3. Plastic trash is often eaten by birds and fish, concentrating toxic chemicals in their tissues, and filling their stomachs, causing them to starve3.
This trash threatens our aquatic wildlife more and more with each passing year. Commercial fishing nets are discarded into the sea, and whether intentionally or not, entangle animals with no chance for escape. Rubber like that from balloons ends up in the ocean and is deadly if consumed by animals who think it may be food. And ubiquitous plastic 6-pack can holders strangle small marine life.
The UN report, Marine Debris: Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity found that the number of species affected by marine debris has increased from 663 to 817 since 2012. It also warned that plastic waste, is an increasing threat to human health and well-being, and is costing countries billions of dollars each year4.
It's hard to imagine, but our daily actions carry serious implications for the health of our oceans. Any litter that doesn't go to a landfill will almost undoubtedly, in one way or another, end up in a body of water that flows to the ocean, and plastics are a huge problem for ocean trash because they take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Marine debris can be found even in the deepest parts of our ocean. In 2016, a plastic bag was documented in the Arc of Fire National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument2.
Solving this problem will take all of us. We all need to participate in protecting our oceans' ecosystems if we truly want to affect change. Don't let marine animals suffer as a result of our negligence. Sign the pledge saying you will limit your litter and protect the oceans.
- Center for Biological Diversity, "Ocean Plastics Pollution: A Global Tragedy for Our Oceans and Sea Life."
- Stephen Guertin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior (19 September 2019), "Marine Debris Impacts."
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (30 July 2020), "Impacts of Mismanaged Trash."
- Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2016), "Marine Debris: Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity."
As a steward of our only home, planet Earth, I pledge to make an effort to keep our oceans clean of harmful plastic by:
- Picking up trash whenever I visit the ocean
- Recycling plastic products whenever possible
- Spreading the word about the importance of keeping our oceans clean
I acknowledge that solving this problem will take the global community, I will do my best to engage others in this effort, and I will not let marine animals suffer as a result of our negligence!