Plastic Endangers World Oceans

 

The pollution of the oceans through waste, especially plastic, is a worldwide problem. Although most of world’s waste stays on land , an increasing amount is getting into the world’s oceans . They are gradually becoming the largest plastic dump in the world.

Over the last decades we have been producing more plastic than ever before.  About 10% of the total waste we produce is plastic. Due to our consumer habits we often use plastic only once, then throw it away. Only very small amounts of plastic are recycled and can be used again. One of the biggest threats are the 50 billion plastic bags that are used every year.

 

Plastic gets into the oceans in various ways. People who bathe on beaches pollute water in coastal regions .  Tons of waste are dumped into the oceans from big ships.

It is estimated that over 270000 tons of plastic are currently floating on the world’s oceans. Most of it is very small, sometimes even impossible to see. However,there are also larger items like plastic toys or bags.As time goes on plastic waste gets smaller and smaller and is reduced to tiny pieces.

Once plastic material gets into the oceans it is transported by ocean currents over very large  distances. These so called gyres are like whirlpools that move plastic waste across the oceans. Among the five main oceanic gyres the Pacific Garbage Patch is the most important. It spreads from the western coast of the US across the northern Pacific to Japan.


The pollution of the world’s oceans through plastic has a widespread impact on humans, our  nature and the environment.

  • Sea animals, for example sea lions and seals,  get caught in plastic and cannot escape.
  • Sea birds, whales, turtles  and other animals eat plastic and digest it.
  • Plastic eaten by fish go up the food chain. Dangerous substances end up in our stomachs.
  • More and more plastic in the oceans have attracted other species and threaten the animals that already live there.

 

Plastic in the world's oceans

Plastic in the world's oceans

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • although = while
  • amount =quantity; how much of something
  • attract = pull towards something
  • bathe = swim on a beach
  • billion = a thousand million
  • coastal = where water meats the sea
  • consumer habits = what people buy and how they use products
  • current = movement of water in the sea
  • currently = at the moment
  • decade = ten years
  • digest = to change food that you have eaten into substances that the body can use
  • distance = space; from one place to another
  • due to = because of
  • dump = here: get rid of something by putting it in a place where people don’t care about it
  • environment = the world around us
  • escape = get away
  • especially = above all
  • estimate =  guess
  • float = swim without sinking
  • food chain = when, for example, a plant is eaten by an insect or animal, which is then eaten by another animal and so on
  • garbage = waste
  • gradually = slowly
  • however = but
  • impossible = not possible
  • increasing = more and more
  • item = single object
  • pollution = when you make something dirty
  • recycle = to use objects over and over again
  • reduce = to make smaller
  • seal = large sea animal that eats fish and lives around the coasts
  • species = group of animals that are almost the same and can have babies together
  • spread = extend, reach
  • substance = material
  • threat = danger
  • threaten = to cause harm to something
  • tiny= very small
  • various = different
  • waste = unwanted materials; things that are left over after you have used them
  • whirlpool = when water spins round and round and pulls things down with it