Our oceans by 2040

Madison Horvat, News Editor

Ocean pollution has recently come into the light as an ongoing issue in the past few years. Pollution has increased throughout the past years as plastic usage has increased as well, and plastic often ends up in the ocean.

Such pollution affects the ecosystems of the ocean, including corals and marine animals such as sea turtles and fish. Other things polluting the waters includes oil spills, runoff from factories, and other waste being dumped into the ocean. Pollution, along with climate change, may cause irreversible damage to the ocean by 2040.

Plastic waste is common in the ocean, creating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Estimates of the size of this garbage patch range from 70,000 square kilometers to 15,000,000 square kilometers. However, a large portion of ocean pollution comes from small microplastics and larger plastics, like straws and bags. According to Bob Bohle from Bluevoice.com, “Researchers found that human activity — from overfishing to greenhouse gases and global warming to the introduction of toxins into the environment – has affected every square mile of ocean on the planet and strongly impacted roughly 40 percent of marine ecosystems.”

Ocean pollution also affects the economy negatively as well. Plastic beads can get into the seafood that we eat when fish consume microplastics. According to Greentumble.com, “Humans feel the effects of plastic pollution when they consume seafood. Tiny plastic beads are ingested by fish and marine mammals – intentionally or not – and make their way up the food chain. These plastics can contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.”

Protecting the oceans may have to become a focus in the near future, whether it be from reducing pollution of it as much as possible or from stopping climate change as much as we can as of now. President Trump dropped climate change from the US national security strategy as of 2017, so stopping pollution may have to become our best bet.