The ocean is massive, covering more than 70% of the planet. That’s roughly 140 million square miles of surface. Did you also know that only about 10% of this vast and beautiful entity has been explored by humans? This may be hard to imagine as it seems like humankind has left no stone unturned, but when it comes to the ocean, there is some beauty in the unknown.
Now, with this beauty in mind, we must ask ourselves how we allow the magnificence of the ocean to become polluted with plastics and other non-biodegradable rubbish. 80% of all pollutants in the sea comes from land-based activities. Globally, an average of 8 million tons of plastic winds up in the environment and eventually the ocean. Then, on top of that, sunlight and currents shred these plastics into smaller particles called microplastics. Microplastics contain all of the toxic chemicals that make up the original plastic wrapper, container or utensil, but are now more easily consumed by marine life.
Why is this so dangerous? Plastic acts as a toxic sponge, absorbing pollutants from air and water, and diffuses into the tissue of anything that eats it. Yikes.
Today, 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for food. In 20 years, that number is projected to double. That’s a lot of people depending on the ocean, and the fish in it, to survive. If we continue to contaminate the ocean with plastic, we are inadvertently contaminating an essential food source and therefore sabotaging an industry that contributes nearly $90 billion to the U.S. economy. In other words, plastic is bad for our health and business.
Want to know more about how we can protect our beautiful ocean and sea life? Attend one of the many exhibits, talks or films at EarthX 2018 at Fair Park on April 20-22.