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Any seemingly harmful action can end up being the complete opposite. Imagine a personcasually walking down the street. They just drank a plastic bottle of water. Not wanting to dealwith this trash, the person drops their bottle on the ground, figuring it would be taken care of bysomeone else. Unfortunately, that was not the case. That same night, a rainstorm blows over thesame street where the plastic water bottle lays. The runoff from this rain carries the litter fromland to sea, where it floats on the surface of the ocean for some time. Eventually, a sea turtlemistakes this trash for food, and consumes the water bottle. After some time, the plastic bottlewas unable to be digested and slowly took the life of this sea turtle. This kind of event happensmore often than not. The majority of pollutants in the ocean originated from human activities,including littering and chemical usage. Trash pollution and chemical pollution of the ocean areharming marine life.The most persistent issue of pollution for the ocean is the build up of marine debris ortrash. Whether the litter floats on the ocean surface or happens to sink, most of the trashpollution is effective to the ocean and its inhabitants. Each year 1.4 billion pounds of trash entersthe ocean. Tides or waves that blanket the shore are the main source of the trash in the ocean. Infact, four out of five of litter in the ocean came from land activities. Debris in the ocean canrange from plastic bags to soda cans to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels. The world’slargest dump, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is a huge rotating mass of trash ladenwater. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is two time the size of Texas, and it continues growingand traveling through the world oceans. Plastic is seemingly the most destructive pollutant of theocean waters; as it accounts for 90% of litter in the ocean. A study done by the Marine Academyof Oceanography revealed that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every squaremile of ocean. The qualities that make plastic so useful to humans is also what causes it to be soharmful to the ocean and life living in it. Plastic is made from petroleum, so eventually it will bebroken down into carbon dioxide and water from both heat and exposure to the sun’s ultravioletrays. However, this process is extremely slow. It can take centuries for plastic to degrade. “Everylittle piece of plastic manufactured in the last 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out theresomewhere,” states polymer chemist of the Research Triangle Institute of North CarolinaAnthony L. Andrady. Each little piece of plastic has a long term effect on the ocean. In additionto the high abundance of litter inhabiting the ocean, this trash is also very hard to locate andclean up.Aside from physical trash pollution in the ocean, toxic or harmful chemicals also findtheir way into the water. A Planet Aid article by Andrew Dilevics explains that one hundredthousand chemicals are used commercially, and 30% of humans’ carbon dioxide emissions findtheir way into the ocean waters. These pollutants come from everyday human life. For example,these chemicals can originate from an oil spill, fertilizer from yards, septic tanks, farmingchemicals, discharge from faulty factories or water treatment systems, and much more. Onesource of pollution is referred to as non-point source pollution, which is the result of runoff fromrainstorms. Toxins from cars, trucks, septic tanks, farms, boats and forests are the cause of thispollution. A pollution-ending ambassador, Amber Merton, wrote in her blog post “OceanPollutants and Their Far-Reaching Effects” that these chemical pollutions “sink to the bottom ofthe ocean where bottom feeding organisms begin ingesting them and the food chain becomescontaminated”. Toxins that find their way into the water can spread like a virus. Once oneindividual is affected, many others may catch this deadly disease, even humans. At times, theconcentration of chemicals in the water can be so bad that the sea water is unsafe for humans.Therefore, beaches at times are forced to be closed after rainstorms. If someone were to swim inthe toxic area of the water, they could swallow the chemicals and become deathly ill; and this ishappening to marine life. Fish are taking in these harmful substances and in result they may facedeath, have health and behavioral changes, lose their ability to reproduce, or acquire cancer.Similar to trash pollution, chemical pollution is even more difficult to locate and clean upmaking it a huge problem to marine life.The extremity of ocean pollution is harming and killing marine life. Plastic has become abig attribute to the death of marine animals. When an animal consumes plastic, they can choke,die from the inability to digest plastic, or mothers may kill their young by passing the plastic onto her children. Additionally, the process that trash undergoes requires oxygen which results inlower oxygen levels for the marine animal to use. An L.A. Times article by Kenneth R. Weissregarding the effects of trash in the ocean stated that, “Of the 500,000 albatross chicks born hereeach year, about 200,000 die”. Albatross chicks have moved their homes to a deserted island thatis free of human impact. However, the albatross mothers depend on the sea to feed both them andtheir young. The adult albatross are mistaking floating litter for food. As a result, they feed thistrash to their children. At times, the baby chick will die and so will the mother. Litter ultimatelydecreases the chances of survival for marine animals. Chemical pollution also has negativeaffects on marine life. When an oil spill occurs, the oil locks itself onto the animals which causesthem to not be able to move. Also, the oil may cause cancer and the inability to reproduce. Somefish are dying, while others cannot give birth to new individuals. Eventually, many species willcompletely die off. Acid rain is a huge attribution to chemical pollution in the ocean. When arainstorm occurs, the runoff picks up any chemicals on the ground, such as fertilizer. FloraRichards-Gustafson wrote in her article published on Seattle Pi that, “Acid rain can weaken plantlife, stress marine animals and cause the soil to leach toxic metals”. The presence we of acid rainin the ocean waters negatively affects marine life. Due to high chemical activity, humans havekilled one quarter of coral reefs. Coral reefs are highly important to all marine life. They have thehighest abundance of life and provide safety and food for many animals. Furthermore, toxins inwater affect the whole food chain. Small fish ingest chemicals, then are eaten by larger fish,which are consumed by either the biggest of the fish or by humans. Pollutants in the ocean arenot only affecting the life that lives there, they’re also affecting humans.The rate at which we are killing our marine resources is faster than nature can reproducethem. Eventually, there will be no available resources left. Extinction of marine animals meansno food for us and other land animals that rely on the ocean. Also, killing the tiniest of marinelife has a huge impact on our world. Plankton accounts for most of the world’s oxygen supply.The sources of plankton dying are the various toxins humans release into the water. Once all ofthe plankton dies, how will we breathe? Human lifestyle must change in order to save ouroceans, and ultimately to save us. There are several actions that can be taken to either slow downor completely put an end to this speedy process of death. Instead of using plastic for manyproducts, we could create biodegradable materials that are safe for the oceans. Reusable productsis another replacement of plastic. For example, rather than using several plastic grocery bags takeyour own to the store. Next, recycle. Daniel Müller from Greenpeace stated that only 10% ofplastic is recycled, and the other 90% is more than likely harming our world. On top of recycling,throw away your trash. Stop littering and simply put your trash in a designated area to keep ourbeaches and oceans clean. In addition, there should be a reduction of fossil fuel emissions. Atotal of 30% of carbon dioxide emissions finds their way into the ocean. Alternatives can be usedin the place of oil. Also, protest unsafe consumer products. Only buy safe and sustainableseafood. Most importantly, spread the word. Inspire others to change their habits as well. Oneperson may not be able to save the world, but one voice does lead to another and eventually therewill be a ocean preservation movement. If we as humans love and respect our ocean, then wewill save both its life and our lives.The immense pollution that humans have caused is killing marine life, intoxicating foodand water, and turning the ocean into a giant trash can. The ocean is not ours. We cannot dowhatever we want to the ocean and expect no harm to be made. Change is necessary. Every littlechange can have a big impact. The human caused pollution of trash and chemicals into the oceanis killing marine life. Extreme oxygen depletion in the ocean is one of the theories that explainssome of earth’s mass extinctions, including the largest such event at the end of the Permian 250million years ago. Due to pollution, this is the path earth is heading in again. In fact, we havesped up this process because of our major carbon dioxide emissions, oil extractions, use ofchemicals, trash pollution, over fishing, and much more. In order to avoid mass extinction theworld must put an end to extreme ocean pollution.

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