The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Ocean Pollution Today

How you can help save Earth
Ocean Pollution Today

For years, the ocean has been getting more and more polluted. However, in current times – the number of polluted waters has increased quicker than ever before. Years ago, scientists predicted what they thought the ocean-pollution percentages would be. Now, the number they estimated are much lower than the actual pollution rate. But how have the percentages changed over the years? How are those numbers affecting our current ecosystem? And why should we care?

In Laura Paddinson’s CNN article,  it is said that “The world’s oceans are polluted by a “plastic smog” made up of an estimated 171 trillion plastic particles that if gathered would weigh around 2.3 million tons, according to a new study.”

Since 2005, there has been not only a rapid increase of ocean based pollution, but an unpredictable one. However, it is thought that by 2040 (in 16 years), the amount of pollution will increase by about 2.5%. The production of plastic has increased massively in the past few decades, the main form of plastic being single-use plastics. While most places have recycling orders in place, that does not mean everyone recycles. Only about 9% of the world’s plastics end up being recycled, others end up in bodies of water or in nature. When one thinks about not recycling something, they don’t think about the impacts that it has on the earth. 

“Huge amounts of that plastic waste end up in the oceans. The majority comes from land, swept into rivers – by rain, wind, overflowing storm drains and littering – and transported out to sea. A smaller but still significant amount, such as fishing gear, is lost or simply dumped into the ocean,” wrote Paddinson. 

When plastic gets into the ocean or other bodies of water, it does not decompose, Instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic that end up floating around – most likely being consumed by an animal who thinks it’s food.

Pollution does not only harm the well-being of the earth – believe it or not, it contributes to climate change. The main ingredient of different plastics are fossil fuels. Throughout the cycle of being created and discarded, they give off planet-heating fibers.

Besides harming the oceans and contributing to climate change, the oceans pollution also affects the ecosystem. The more sea creatures that die from pollution, the less there are in the food-web. Say fish type 1 needs fish type 2 to survive. The more fish type 2 dies, the less there are for fish type 1 to eat. Therefore, fish type 1 will also start to die off. That cycle, inevitably, will trickle down the whole food web and impact all animals, plants and eventually – humans. 

The earth is 71% oceans, and we only have one earth. While a few people cannot completely fix this problem, everyone can certainly do their part. No one WANTS to recycle, it’s an extra step and lets be honest – often it’s much easier and more convenient to just throw plastics in the trash. But, before you do that, think about the impacts it has and try to change your habits. Soon, recycling will come naturally. We may not be able to completely fix this issue, but if no one tries, it’ll never get better.  The earth is like your body – there’s only one. But unlike the human body, the earth can’t get replacement parts. It may seem exhausting but the more you recycle, the better future you’re helping build.

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About the Contributor
Hazel Foster, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Hazel Foster, and I try to write mostly about universal topics and/or things that’d be interesting to the majority! I’m a freshman, but I’ve been here at Gateway since 7th grade, although this is my first year writing in THE CHOMP. I love animals, nature, decorating things, my boyfriend, Dance Moms, and writing!
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