Plastic Waste in the Ocean
The total amount of plastic waste that already exists in the world's oceans is estimated to be 150 million tons, and the marine plastic problem is becoming a serious problem. It is said that 8 million tons of new plastic waste is leaking into the ocean every year. This is equivalent to the weight of 50,000 jumbo jets.
Plastic litter threatens marine ecosystems in all parts of the globe, washing up and polluting coastlines around the world.
If things continue as they are, the oceans may become filled with plastic waste and many marine organisms may become extinct in the near future, not the distant future.
With news reports of marine life being harmed by these plastic wastes and high concentrations of microplastics being found in unexpected places, consumer interest in this issue has never been higher.
Impact on marine ecosystems
There have been reports of marine organisms mistaking marine plastic waste for food and swallowing it, causing it to clog their stomachs and intestines and die. A large amount of plastic has been found in the stomach of a beached whale.
In addition, old fishnets and fishing lines that have accumulated on the bottom of the sea entangle their bodies, and they are unable to move and die.
It has also been reported that the accumulated plastic waste can injure the body. Sea turtles have been found with plastic straws stuck in their nostrils, and seabirds and seals have been found dead entangled in fishing nets.
Microplastic is plastic particles with the size of 5mm or less after the plastic is degraded by the effects of ultraviolet rays and waves. Microplastic waste in the ocean is viewed as a problem, and microplastic waste is generated when plastic that is released into the environment is washed into the sea during the process of littering and transportation to waste disposal facilities. Plastic does not decompose naturally and is said to remain semi-permanently when it flows into the ocean. Then it deteriorates over a long period of time and becomes finer. At the same time, the ingredients originally contained in the plastic container such as detergents and abrasives flows into the ocean.
It is said that this microplastic adsorbs chemical substances while drifting, and organisms unintentionally take them into their bodies, causing various adverse effects. Although conclusive evidence has not been found, research is being conducted around the world addressing the microplastic issue as a major concern.