Microplastics in the marine environment., Conversation about pollution, climate change,
and carbon emissions are increasing as data about the global effects of human activity are becoming more visible in the media.
But sometimes the effects of pollution on the health of our oceans are overlooked.
Most people love visiting the beach. While there are many steps you can take to keep your family safe, what if the ocean water itself isn’t safe anymore?
Maybe we overlook our oceans because a majority of people don’t see the damage done on a daily basis.
But the reality is our oceans are suffering.
The presence of microplastics in the marine environment is becoming a dangerous problem. We can no longer ignore it!
What are Microplastics in the Marine Environment
Microplastics are classified as any plastic that is less than 5 millimeters. These small plastic particles generally come from larger plastic materials.
Bags or bottles break down in the ocean leaving small plastic pieces behind.
Microplastics pose a dangerous problem for the health of marine life because of how small they are. Marine life is able to easily ingest such small particles of plastic.
Filter feeders like oysters are consuming the microplastics in the marine environment. It is seriously damaging their ability to thrive and reproduce.
Disrupting the population of filter feeders has the potential to wreak havoc on the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem.
The health of other marine animals that are ingesting oysters is at risk. Humans are also at risk here.
We still can’t be sure of the true scope of the damage caused by the microplastics in the marine environment.
Where Do Microplastics Come From
Larger plastics breaking down can produce microplastics.
But microplastics can also come from face washes, body washes, and certain kinds of toothpaste.
- These items have small plastic balls already in them.
- Microplastics are often marketed as exfoliating your skin.
- These microplastics are called ‘microbeads.’
In reality, these microbeads aren’t making your skin softer. They are all also washing down your drain and will end up in the ocean and inside a filter feeder.
What Can We Do?
Some countries have already taken steps to ban companies from making products that use microplastics.
President Obama signed a bill banning microbeads and steps have been taken in Europe to ban these harmful substances.
Some companies are volunteering to phase out the use of microbeads by 2020, but is that fast enough?
These small microbeads are entering our marine ecosystems by the trillions.
The full extent of the damage is still unknown but it has the potential to be catastrophic.
One way you can fight back against this harmful degradation of our oceans is to use your money as activism!
Try to buy products made from environmentally conscious companies.
Then you will know your purchases aren’t damaging ocean wildlife or your family.