Have you heard about the pollution catastrophe known as marine debris? Marine debris is defined as any man-made material intentionally or unintentionally disposed of in our marine environment. Examples include trash, single-use plastic products, abandoned fishing gear and nets, and derelict vessels.
Large and small debris items can be washed into waterways by storm water run-off and flooding from natural disasters or dumped or abandoned in the environment. Due to its large-scale production and use worldwide use, plastic makes up the majority of marine debris. Plastics are hazardous to marine life and humans by means of entanglement, ingestion, habitat destruction, toxicity and more. Plastic products fit into our busy, fast-paced society easily because of their convenience characteristics of being cheap, lightweight, durable and easily accessible.
Unfortunately, we are producing more plastics than we can properly dispose of. Plastics are not biodegradable so they accumulate in landfills or the natural environment. We know marine debris is a growing problem – so what can we do about it? There are millions and millions of people worldwide using single-use plastics products every day, multiple times a day. There are even countries with high populations and poor waste management systems that are directly dumping thousands of pounds of trash into rivers and waterways every day.
So what can we do, as individuals, to help this global issue and have a lasting impact?
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