5 Surprising Facts You Should Know About Plastic in the Ocean
We know that just like us - you’re an ocean lover. From beach walks, surf sessions, and sunset picnics, you love and cherish the blue space that surrounds you. Damn, you probably even took the “I quit plastic” challenge to a whole new level this year, joining beach clean-ups, shopping solely at the farmer’s market, and recycling like there is no tomorrow.
But you’re also realistic - like us. And while you make so much effort to limit your own plastic consumption - you can’t deny that plastic is still very much a problem for the ocean.
Yes, we know that too much oceanic plastic can’t be accounted for, and that 50% of marine life is impacted by it in one way or another - whether they eat it, get caught in it, or get killed by it.
And while these facts foster surprise, anger, and sadness in many - there are other surprising things about oceanic plastic that you might want to know about (and use to create awareness).
Fact 1. There are more microplastics in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky way
Thijs Bosker - an environmental scientist - highlighted this fact during a 2018 climate summit in the Netherland. The milky way is wide and infinite, and we can’t quite comprehend the amount and impact of stars found in the galaxy. Microplastic works in the ocean the same way. But while we have yet to see the full extent of their impact, we already know that microplastics are slowly killing life on our planet.
Fact 2. An island of plastic garbage exists in the pacific ocean - and it is twice the size of Texas.
If you stumble in the pacific between Hawaii and California, you can find the largest ocean garbage site in the entire world. It is estimated that the amount of plastic there outnumbers the marine life found in the pacific ocean.
Fact 3. 359 million metric tons of plastic waste were generated in 2018. There is no data on how much was recycled.
In fact, there hasn’t been any precise data on how much plastic waste accrued in 2019 and 2020 either. While we are urged on an individual level to reduce plastic, we still lack transparency from governments around proper plastic waste disposal and recycling.
Fact 4. Scientists discovered that microplastics are merging deep in the arctic ice.
Our plastic waste travels far - so far, that it makes its way in the most remote place in the world: the arctics. National Geographic recently published the discovery after plastic fragments and pollution were found on research sites north of Greenland.
Fact 5. 700 marine species are at risk of extinction because of plastic.
With over 100,000 marine life coming in contact with plastic waste each year, it is no surprise that the RSPCA observed that 700 species might become extinct because of oceanic plastic. From eating microplastics to getting entangled in gears and net… plastic merges, intoxicates, and kills marine life at an alarming level.Oceanic plastic is a problem. And if we want to do something about it on a global level, we need to talk about it. Whether that’s over a pizza and a VB, that’s up to you.