Plastic is flowing in from the ocean everyday. With every wave that crashes on our beaches, more and more plastic is deposited. This wave of plastic is not going to stop and the problem will not go away if you ignore it. Even our fish are consuming the plastic fragments, so you are consuming the plastic too.
Plastic is flowing in from the ocean everyday. With every wave that crashes on our beaches, more and more plastic is deposited. This wave of plastic is not going to stop and the problem will not go away if you ignore it. Even our fish are consuming the plastic fragments, so you are consuming the plastic too. The ocean is full of plastic with over 8 million metric tons of plastic entering our ocean every year. The amount of plastic being transported to landfills or waste managements sites, plastic pollution is still the leading marine litter over fishing gear plastic waste like ropes from crab pods. Plastic is horrifying to marine life as the larger plastic fragments breaks down into tiny pieces ending up in what we call garbage patches of our oceans. The key to lowering this plastic problem is to lower single use plastic products like plastic bags, straws, that get used one time then transported to landfill.
Most of the plastic getting into our Ocean from a single source is flowing down the Mississippi River in United States. The very first plastics were made by a rubber tree—did you know that rubber from a rubber tree is actually a plastic? Plastic is made from oil. Oil is a carbon rich material, and plastic are containing of large molecules called polymers, which are composed of repeating shorter carbon containing compounds called monomers. Truly only 4% of oil production is used for plastics since how plastics are made from the bi product of oil and natural gas. Oil is mostly used for transport, energy and heating that ends up burnt and or lost.
Did you know plastic can be recycled up to six times? WATCH: How Plastic Is Made?
What are plastic bags made from
Plastic bags are made from oil: it takes about 430,000 gallons of oil to produce 100 million plastic bags, and the U.S. goes through 380 billion of them a year. A statistics class at Indiana U did the math: more than 1.6 billion gallons of oil are used each year for plastic bags alone.
Less plastic more ocean
Sea of Plastic Soup If we do not collect the plastic fragment debris from the beach when it is deposited, it just gets washed away or buried in the sand where the sun breaks down the fragments into micro-plastic. Plastic pollution micro plastic on beaches is breaking down into tiny pieces and getting into our food chain as high tide take the plastic back to sea. Microplastics pollution and other marine debris are being collected by the millions of pounds by many nonprofit groups and volunteers at coastal cleanup events. Eating fish today the chance of being exposed to microplastics are a very high percent since microplankton today is part of the micro plastic food chain. When sun hits microplastic particles breaking them down into smaller and smaller micro that our naked eyes are no longer able to see this.
The beach is warm and the sun hits the plastic waste and of microplastics began as the plastic starts to deteriorate, creating small micro-plastic particles that get mixed into the water. The fish cannot avoid it even if they tried. The amount of microplastics or particles mix with the ocean water creating a soup of micro plastic. This is just one more reason we need to collect the plastic deposited on our beaches on a regular basis.
Notice that the green and blue plastic fragments in the image below have already started to dissolve in the heat of the sun. Those pieces have been exposed to a visible amount of degradation, where as the white fragments seem to have not been exposed to the elements as long. These fragments are small enough to collect in a large mouth bottle, like Gatorade. I feel lowering plastic bags, personal care products with micro plastic beads, single use plastic plastic, can help lower the demand of over a million tons of plastic products daily. The effects of microplastics, alone stands a strong case for anyone to want to see the presence of microplastics be a time of the past as for animals who ingest microplastics should change anyone's mind to plastic being so mainstream in our everyday lives. Other ways you and your family can give back is to join beach cleanups with Ocean Blue Project.
Photo of the beach in Manzanita, Oregon 2018
Plastic floats in the Ocean that is called the garbage patch
Garbage Patch Map of the Pacific Ocean
Pollution and Animals
Make A Difference Oregonians and visitors alike can make a whale of a difference by cleaning the beach for just a few minutes during every visit. Go for a walk and enjoy the beach. As you walk, look at the high tide mark in the sand and start there. You’ll notice plastic fragments in the sand, everywhere. They are washing in at an alarming rate. It’s important to remember, we are stewards of Oregon and it’s our duty to get involved.
It’s really easy too. Just finish the beverage in the plastic bottle that you’re probably already drinking or find a plastic container to pick up a few plastic fragments off the beach while you’re there. With all the debris trash in on the coast and in our daily lives, it’s easy to find something to use. This needs to become a “thing” to do when you visit, so let’s do just that. Take plastic pick-up selfies and fun Instagram videos with #wecleanbeaches because if we all picked up 2 pieces of plastic, we’d have a much cleaner ocean. In fact, we’ll donate a special gift pack to the person or team with the best #wecleanbeaches pic or video. Let’s have some fun with this!
Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen are one of the leading causes algae blooms in waterways and with algae blooms aquatic ecosystems have a loss of oxygen leading to fish kills and loss of biodiverisity including species that are important if not vital, like loss of plant life or coral reef bleaching and other problems. Read more:
No LandfillBeach Plastic Clean UpPicking up plastic and putting it into a plastic bag that goes into a landfill does not solve Oregon’s growing beach plastic problem, or anyone else’s for that matter. We’ve come up with a solution. Our team of volunteers working with Ocean Blue Project a nonprofit that uses re-purposed food-grade burlap coffee bags from Holderness Coffee Roasters. That means we’ve got thousands of free sustainable beach clean up bags for everyone so there will be no more plastic bag beach cleanups in Oregon (think we have about 8,000 but we are picking up more this week). Plastic pollution in the world's Oceans: More than 5 trillion plastic pieces of microplastic pollution weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea. Link
Photsynthesiss studies are showing plastic is harming plankton algae possibly by not only out numbering phytoplankton populations by blocking the sun light lowering the light intensities. Read further: Negative yet variable effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms. More: