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Is Plastic the Problem?

A body of water polluted by human-produced plastic and garbage. (Credit: 2EA - Overfishing and Ocean Pollution Are a Threat to Marine Life)

The ocean is the largest body of water on our planet, filling 71 percent of the world. However, nearly half of that water is full of waste and plastic. Waste in the ocean pollutes the water we use on a daily basis and is full of toxic chemicals that end up in our bodies. Water is vital for human survival and is crucial for the continued relevance of many species and organisms. One article from a Montana State University professor explains that “environmentalists and marine biologists have long been concerned about the health of the Atlantic ocean.” Plastic is a huge contributor to the dystopian theme of environmental destruction. If plastic waste is not regulated more heavily, we could certainly see an apocalyptic and inhabitable society in the not-so distant future.

Year over year, our wetlands transform into wastelands of pollution and disaster. However, there’s not a clear-cut solution to this global issue since many types of pollutants contribute to the destruction of our environment (plastics, rubbers, chemicals, and more). Many countries throughout time have used the ocean as a dumping ground for their waste, with some going as far to dump their nuclear waste into the water after major wars.

Scientists have discovered that plastic waste is increasing rapidly over time and causing major harm in the process. Every year, roughly ten million metric tons are carelessly discarded into the ocean. As plastic washes up to shores, it not only harms our civilization, but all living things that depend on the ocean and beaches for survival.

Statistics show that 79 percent of plastic isn't recycled or burned, leaving our ecosystems and atmosphere full of harmful-plastic particles. Unfortunately, plastic can take many years to completely break down and disintegrate. Craig Blohm’s ‘What is the Impact of Ocean Pollution’ details the significance of trash in our oceans.

“Objects that pollute the ocean… are the worst offenders. In some cases, it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Fishing line, plastic bottles, and disposable diapers are among the longest lasting of all ocean debris.”

If this problem never goes away and we continue this vicious cycle of self sabotage, our relevance on the planet could cease to exist. Pollution is a bigger problem than most think. As our oceans fill with toxic waste and chemicals, the spread of environmental destruction will continue to transform the once dystopian problem of self destruction into a reality. The little pieces of plastic we forget to recycle end up in our water and decay the planet day by day.

Next time you go to the beach, don’t forget to properly dispose of your plastic into a recycling bin; choosing the alternative of leaving your bottle for the ocean to consume will further inflate the global issue of pollution.

Remember that YOU can make a difference, one bottle at a time. Visit to learn about how you can contribute to environmental sustainability through eco-friendly habits and practices!

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