“Approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash per year enters the ocean. Where does all that trash come from? Where does it go? Much of it ends up on our beaches washed in with the waves and tides, some sinks, some is eaten by marine animals mistaking it for food. Other forms of pollution impacting the health of the ocean come from a single known sources like an oil spill or from accumulation of many dispersed sources like fertilizer from our yards” (NOAA).
That’s a lot of trash! Marine debris is a persistent pollution problem in our oceans. This type of debris injures and kills marine life, and even poses a threat to human health. Our oceans and waterways are polluted with a variety of things from soda cans and plastic bags to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels. A majority of the trash and debris that covers our beaches comes from storm drains and sewers, as well as from shoreline and recreational activates. This trash can entangle, injure, maim, and drown marine wildlife and damage property.
One of the most serious threats to our oceans is plastics pollution. Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. So why is so much of this stuff in our oceans? Unlike other trash, plastic is not biodegradable. Instead it photo degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and small pieces, but this plastic never really disappears (Oceans 101).
If you think about it you and your family have probably used thousands of Baggies in your lifetime, hopefully yours aren’t ending up in the ocean like so many of them are. A good way of avoiding the harmful effects of disposable plastic bags is to substitute them for reusable containers. You could use biodegradable bags made from fabrics. These are affordable and found in almost every store, and of course online.
When it comes to water bottles ALWAYS use your own reusable water bottle and mug for beverages on the go!
Want to get involved? Check out this new iPhone, and Android app! It is called Marine Debris Tracker and it allows you to see where there is current marine debris, and even gives you directions and coordinates if you would like to help clean it up. I would suggest to anyone out there that is interested in helping out our oceans to download this app. It is free, and available in iTunes. Here is the website for the app if you’re interested in learning a little more about it: www.marinedebris.engr.uga.edu.
Interested in learning even more about these issues? Planet Stewards, through their Personalized Learning in 3D GameLab, and NOAA are currently designing the career pathway directly related to these issues. This game lab will offer OBI badges for both NOAA certified teachers (who train in this content), and NOAA certified specialists in each of the career pathway (students). It will teach you everything you need to know to start educating more people, and give you an idea of how you can help out. An INTERACTIVE in depth game lab that teaches me about things I like and care about… sign me up!!! How cool would it be to be certified as a specialist in an ocean and coastline career path through NOAA!? This link gives more information about the 3D GameLab itself, check it out! http://planetstewards.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/hello-world/
Original post at: http://planetstewards.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/did-you-know/
Post written by: Kodi Sims