Cheap and durable, plastic is something of a wonder material. It has been proved useful to humans since the 1950’s. However, this success made us all victims as we are now facing the most harmful era where every life on our planet is at stake.
Where do microplastics come from?
Microplastics in the oceans originate from 2 sources; those made directly as microplastics, and those broken down from bigger pieces of plastics. The plastics directly produced as microplastics are found in beauty products usually used for exfoliation such as shaving products, facial scrubs, hand and body wash, and even glitter that you find in make-up.
Weathering of macro plastics creates the major part of microplastics in the oceans, and most of it comes from beach littering. Plastics on the beach break down faster than in water due to wind, higher temperature, and solar UV light.
Is it harmful?
With more than 8 million tons of plastic going into the oceans annually, it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish by 2050 and almost all of the seabirds on the planets will have consumed some. It is assumed that there are 500 times more microplastics in our seas than there are stars in our galaxy.
To our dear sea turtles, plastic bags may look like jellyfish underwater; with a bird’s eye view, it may look like a delicious snack; and to those sea animals that feed on plankton, may instead ingest microplastics.
Why should we be worried?
Most of our food comes from the ocean, and the fact that that plastic degrades to pieces small enough to pass through into the stomach of marine creatures, we are already eating some of that plastic we have thrown into the ocean. Plastic live longer than us, we consume it and now it is consuming us.
Are we doing something about this?
Today, a lot of organizations have been battling plastic pollution. There have been coastal cleanups to lessen the plastic that goes into our oceans and different programs that focus on marine conservation. Many individuals too are making an effort in a zero-waste lifestyle.
Let us protect our oceans and all that inhabits the Earth. We were able to live without plastic before, why can’t we go back to that?