Why is the fight against plastic ocean pollution so important? Basically, it comes down to the animals that are affected—especially humans. Plastics attract and store persistent organic pollutants like flame retardants and other industrial chemicals, which have been linked to human health problems—even cancer.
A SINGLE PLASTIC MICROBEAD CAN BE 1 MILLION TIMES MORE TOXIC THAN THE WATER AROUND IT.
As marine life eat the plastic, these pollutants work their way up the food chain—and onto our plates. Larger pieces of plastic are also a problem.
More than 1,200 species are impacted by plastic, through ingestion or entanglement—both of which can sicken or even kill them. Birds, fish, turtles, dolphins, sharks and even whales can be poisoned or trapped by plastic waste. And humans depend on the ocean for food and a healthy ecosystem that maintains the balance of greenhouse gases. Scientists agree: If the oceans die, we die.
But the thing to remember about the problem of plastic ocean pollution is this we can fix it! It’s simple: Pledge to go #plasticfree by avoiding the top four sources of single use plastic—plastic bags, water bottles, styrofoam cups and straws, as well as microbeads.
Here are three more actions you can take today:
- Stash a reusable metal or glass straw in your pocket or purse, and when you order a drink say, “No straw please!”
- Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop on the fight against single-use plastics!
- Check out our Plastic Free Shopping Guide for options on how to live without Ziploc.
Chelsea M. Rochman “Scientific Evidence Supports a Ban on Microbeads” Environmental Science and Technology.
Kat Kerlin “Our Fish Comes with a Side Order of Debris”, UC Davis Outreach and International Program SEED Grant.
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity “Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions”
AWI "Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected"