Each year, countless marine animals and sea birds are endangered by the flow of trash into our oceans. The fact is, Sea turtles are entangled and choked by plastic and discarded nets. Whales mistake trash bags for food and perish. And, let’s not forget the harmful impact contaminated marine environments have on human beings. Plastic also attracts and concentrates other pollutants from surrounding seawater, posing a contamination risk to those species that then eat it. Scientists are studying the impacts of that contamination on fish and shellfish.
From plankton to whales, animals across ocean ecosystems have been contaminated by plastic. Plastic has been found in 59% of sea birds like albatross and pelicans, in 100% of sea turtle species, and more than 25% of fish sampled from seafood markets around the world.
Marine debris isn’t an ocean problem—it’s a people problem. That means people are the solution. Ocean Conservancy is committed to keeping our beaches and ocean trash free. For more than 30 years we have organized the International Coastal Cleanup, where nearly 12 million volunteers from 153 countries have worked together to collect more than 220 million pounds of trash. And we’re not the only ones who care about ocean trash: Every day, all over the world, concerned people take the problem into their own hands by cleaning up their local waterways.
Tackling the problem of plastic in the ocean begins on land. Reduction in plastics use, especially of single-use disposable products, and the collection and recycling of plastics in developing countries can help to reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters the ocean.
At our International Coastal Cleanups, volunteers have picked up more than half a million straws and stirrers, making straws one of the top ten items on our annual list. Straws pose a real danger to animals like sea turtles, albatross and fish who can eat them. Take action today: #SKIPtheSTRAW!
Add your voice to the sea of people taking a stand for the ocean. Sign the pledge now and when offered a straw, simply say ‘no thanks.’
We can’t afford to trash our planet – so let’s do something about it.
Trash Travels – even if you do not live near the ocean, you can take action in your community to make sure litter does not end up in our waters.
resource: Earth Day Network, Ocean Conservancy