Ocean Plastic Pollution
Plastic Pollution has become the worse, pervasive, and ubiquitous environmental issue especially for all marine environments (Golam, 2017; Tosca, 2018; Anela, 2019; Eric, 2016). Plastic waste has a complex structure, long half-life due to the slow degradation process. Based on hazardous chemicals, generate in huge quantities due to more consumption in different activities. Plastic has the durable property that exists for a very long time in the ocean. This plastic shows a result noxious for marine species health like a sea turtle, sea birds.
In 2018, it has been estimated that in overall world plastic generation has increased to 359 million tons (Geyer et al., 2017; Golam, 2017; Tosca, 2018) that is a galling and anxious thing.
This all happened due to the mismanagement of plastic litter. From land surfaces, rivers, and coastal beaches plastic waste enter into the ocean, then wastes disperse by wind and ocean current and convert plastic particles into mega, macro, micro and nano size particles by fragmentation process and cause ocean plastic pollution (Eric, 2016; Tosca, 2018). Due to different densities of particle size, plastic debris found in various locations in the ocean from the top of the ocean to depth (Tosca, 2018).
Plastic waste is even found in remote areas from the Arctic to the Antarctic, which is alarming (Anela, 2019). It is reported that 80% of waste in the marine environment is plastic (European Parliament, 2019).
Plastic pollution continuously mount up in world marine environment
In the meantime, plastic pollution continuously mounts up in the world’s marine environment. In different studies, it is stated that annually about 10 million tons of plastic waste come into the ocean (Jambeck et al., 2015). It is projected that this figure twice in 2030 and a further increase in 2050 (Tosca, 2018). About 80-90% plastic litter come from the land surface in the ocean through rivers, stream, and coastal areas. 20% of plaster refuse is present in the ocean include fishing net etc. (Tosca, 2018; Stephanie Avery Gomm, et al., 2019). Those countries that have a larger population more contribution of plastic pollution in the world’s ocean-like Asian countries China, Indonesia, and the United States (Jambeck et al., 2015). Most of the plastic litter generated from packaging material.
Plastic pollution around the world
Furthermore, the most recent event Covid-19 pandemic further increase the volume of plastic waste around the world (Patricia Silva et al., 2020; Vanapalli, 2020; Gorrasi, 2020). This increase the quantity of single-use plastic product like PPE (Personal Protective Equipment i.e. gloves, mask. It has been revealed in recent research, almost 65 billion mask and 65 million gloves in overall world waste generate (Prata, 2020). Moreover medical waste, plastic packaged product include online food delivery, grocery and other daily use product that further aggravate the plastic pollution. The litter generate from this pandemic has a strong impact on volume of plastic pollution and result in environmental contamination (Patricio Silva, 2020).
Ocean plastic pollution
Ocean plastic pollution is most concerning issue in past and present that’s why many important conventions and meeting held at international level to aware the countries and move towards the solution. The major effects of ocean plastic pollution is dangerous for aquatic species in ocean. Because most of species like shellfish, whales, fish etc. eat plastic particle as food that result in death or affect the internal system of species that research revealed from different laboratory test. The other major affect is part of food chain that result in also hazardous for human health (Golam Kibra, 2017).
Causes of Ocean Plastic Pollution
Plastic is man-made product that cause noxious and hazardous effect on environment. There are many causes of ocean plastic pollution but major cause is mismanagement of solid waste. Due to ineffective disposal in landfill and inappropriate management technique of waste, waste illegally dump in river then via river waste enter in ocean.
The industrial sector also a major contributor of plastic pollution. In different researches, it has been stated that industries that generate more plastic litter are the packaging industry about 46.7%, and the textile industry, etc. (Geyer et al., 2017). Another main cause is ineffective wastewater treatment plant that results in not filtered the smallest particles of plastic and direct discharge in the river. The other causes are waste generate in coastal beaches also direct enter into ocean, many natural disaster like flooding that move the plastic waste in the ocean, storm water emissions and most fisherman discarded the things like fishing net or any trap (Golam, 2017; Sebille, 2016; Khandziora, 2019).
Solution of Ocean Plastic Pollution
There are many measure that can be adopted in practical life to reduce the plastic waste and improvement in present condition. In accordance of UNEP, the major source of plastic pollution is mismanagement of solid waste and ineffective waste water treatment, so we should take measures for improvement by technological changes and properly management of solid waste techniques.
Strong action must be taken in the illegal dumping of plastic waste and must be focused on law and policy. It is practically implemented in developed countries due to which positive results are observed from these activities. Control plastic litter in coastal beaches because it is also a major source. The most important measure to reduce plastic products especially packaging products and then move towards recycling. Bioplastic is also good option to manage waste.
The most important option is aware and educates the people to move eco-friendly (Golam, 2017; Tosca, 2018). And the most important thing is awareness-raising, activists, non-governmental and governmental organizations should aware people about the risk of plastic pollution so that the public involvement in solutions rather than a cause for the more effective results of solutions.
Also read our post on hydro power electricity
In the present era, ocean plastic pollution is a major and recent issue that is a matter of concern all over the globe. It continuously increases all over the globe. This causes contamination of water and has a huge impact on aquatic organisms, humans, and other biological organisms because it enters into the food chain. It enters into the water commonly by dispersal of improperly disposed waste. But its concentration increase into oceans especially during the Covid-19 pandemic period due to improper disposal of mask and sanitizer bottles. It is in dire need of time to move towards a solution because without an effective solution we can’t move towards sustainable development.
- K.R. Vanapalli, H.B. Sharma, V.P. Ranjan, et al. 2020. Challenges and strategies for effective plastic waste management during and post COVID-19 pandemic, Science of the Total Environment https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141514
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- Anela Choy, C., Robison, B. H., Gagne, T. O., Erwin, B., Firl, E, et al. 2019. The vertical distribution and biological transport of marine microplastics across the epipelagic and mesopelagic water column. Scientific Report, 9: 7843