In an ideal world, everything that we create would cause the environment no harm. There would be no carbon emissions from vehicles, no chemical pesticides in our water supply and soil, and there would be no plastics in our oceans. However, this is not an ideal world, and the reality is that the activity of humans does have a somewhat negative impact on our environment. Thus, it is our responsibility to mitigate this negative impact that our activities, actions, and products have on the environment.
KW Plastics is a recycled plastic manufacturer who buys scrap plastic and then uses this scrap plastic to make plastic resin pellets. We then sell these scrap plastic recycling to manufacturers who use them in their products, resulting in less new plastic made and less plastic ending up in landfills and our oceans. Below, we’ll go over some of the dangers of plastics in our oceans.
DANGERS OF PLASTICS IN THE OCEAN
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is actually two separate garbage patches, with one between Hawaii and California and the other between Japan and the Hawaiian Islands. An ocean current collects the trash and keeps the trash in relatively the same place due to a vortex. It is estimated that between eight and 12 million tonnes of plastic will enter the ocean this year of the over 300 million tons of plastic that will be produced. Almost half of this plastic will not sink, and instead will float. Currents carry them to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where they will most likely spend the rest of their life until they degrade decades or centuries later.
KW Plastics notes that it is estimated that this patch covers an area twice the size of Texas. Experts note that most of this debris is classified as microplastics, meaning they are smaller than 5 mm in size that are spread throughout the area. Many of these have come from much larger pieces of plastic that have broken down over time.
Disruption of the Ocean Ecosystem
The entire ocean ecosystem is being affected by plastics in the ocean because of the food chain. Everything is connected in ecosystems via the food chain. The food chain is where one animal eats another animal that is eaten by a different animals and so on. Hence when one animal is affected by environmental hazards, all animals are affected by the trickle down method. Garbage in the ocean affects all creatures from the tiniest microorganisms to the largest living mammal, the blue whale. If one animal dies off due to environmental hazards, the entire food chain, and hence the entire ecosystem, is affected. The oceans are facing this problem right now.
Many of us have heard of the magnificence of coral reefs or even been lucky enough to see them up close. Coral reefs are made of living, breathing organisms for the most part, that are, in fact, relatives to the jellyfish and sea anemones. Nets and lines become entangled on coral reefs, which then cause the coral to break off due to the power of the ocean tides. This debris can then be snagged again on the coral and cause further damage until at some point it sinks or is removed. As living animals, snagged plastic bags can also suffocate coral or block their sunlight, causing them to die.
Death of Marine Animals, Birds, Fish and Other Wildlife
KW Plastics sadly notes that about one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from ingesting plastic. When marine creatures ingest plastic, it can cause severe digestion problems and can lead to death. When other sea creatures eat other creatures, such as sharks eat fish, and fish have plastic in their stomachs, the plastic is spread and the problems are spread. Here, too, is where humans are affected.
Birds are vastly affected by ocean plastic. Not only do they mistake the shiny plastic for fish and ingest plastic, but they also frequently get plastic stuck on them or around their necks, from plastic bags to nets and other plastic debris. Furthermore, chicks are vastly affected by plastic ingestion because most sea birds regurgitate their food to their chicks, which would be plastic bits as well. Chicks are even less able to tolerate plastic and many die because of it.
HOW KW PLASTICS HELPS OCEAN LIFE
Plastics have made many things available to humans that we probably wouldn’t have or wouldn’t be as convenient to have, such as cell phones, computers, cars, bikes, and even bottled water. Still, plastic is considered not biodegradable as it takes decades or longer for plastics to naturally decompose in our environment.
The first step in solving any problem is recognizing the problem. Many organizations are now actively working to clean up ocean trash. Programs such as The Plastic Bank are helping as well. You can do your part by recycling plastics in your home that you consume and not littering. Picking up other people’s plastic bottles will go a long way in helping to lessen plastic pollution as well.
KW Plastics helps recycle scrap plastic by purchasing scrap plastic and then turning this plastic into plastic resin pellets, which we then sell to plastic manufacturers to be used in other plastic products. We have over 100 million pounds of silo capacity to hold plastics to be recycled. However, we depend upon you to bring us your plastic bales and other plastic products to recycle. Do your part in saving the oceans, and recycle with us today!