How Plastic Pollution is affecting our Marine Ecosystem

Plastic pollution has many effects on the ocean. Plastic consists of very large molecules that have not been implicated into environmental pollution. This means that plastic can take decades to about a thousand years to decompose and 8.3 billion metric tons of trash have been produced and 6.3 billion metric tons of it, or about 79%, of it, is plastic. Most of our plastic ends up in landfills and the ocean. If these trends continue, there will be 12 billion metric tons in landfills and the ocean by 2050. This is as heavy as 35,000 times the Empire State building.

One of the biggest effects plastic pollution has had on the world is the effect it has had on marine animals. Many dead sea animals have been found on beaches all around the world with discarded plastic debris around or inside their bodies. Newborn sea animals are especially at risk because they are not as cautious about what they eat as much as their elders are and they float with the same currents of the ocean that plastic does.  One of the most harmful products on marine life are microbeads. Microbeads are extremely small toxic plastic particles often found in cosmetic and hygiene products such as face scrubs, toothpaste, and shower gel. Since these particles are so small, wastewater facilities cannot detect them and they continue to poison our marine ecosystems.  There are over 300,000 microbeads in a tube of face wash which means that there are billions of microbeads are floating in global waterways. Many marine animals such as dolphins and sea turtles and have an increased chance of death from the consumption of microbeads.

It’s very easy to see if there are microbeads in the products you own, just look at the ingredients and keep your eye out for one or more of the following: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate. It is highly likely that your skin products have one or more of these type of microbeads, which essentially means that you are scrubbing plastic all over your face and body. To help reduce the number of microbeads in the oceans and ecosystems, you can diy your own face products using natural alternatives, such as oats, and even coffee grounds. For some good recipes, you can check out this blog post:


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