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What types of rubbish end up in our oceans and how do we stop it

by Sally L Watkins Monday February 7th 2022

What types of rubbish end up in our oceans and how do we stop it-Pacific-ocean-garbage-rubbish-waste-recycling-sydney-01

It is no secret that our oceans are polluted. However, many people do not know the extent of the problem. Plastic is a significant cause of pollution in the world's oceans and seas. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. Most waste is disposed of responsibly, but an alarming amount still ends up in our oceans.

What are the Consequences for Humans, and how do we stop it?

We will explore the different types of rubbish that end up in our oceans and the effects of this pollution and how it affects your health and the rest of the planet.

What Types of Rubbish Ends Up in Our Oceans?

The types of rubbish that end up in our oceans can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary.

Primary rubbish

Primary rubbish consists of the materials directly discharged into the ocean, such as plastic bags, bottles and food wrappers.

1. Plastic bags

Plastic bags are one of the most common types of rubbish in our oceans. They can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and they often end up tangled in the limbs of marine animals.

2. Plastic bottles

Plastic bottles are another common form of ocean pollution. They can take up to 450 years to decompose, and they often end up as part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

3. Food wrappers

Food wrappers are one of the primary sources of litter on land and end up in the waterways and then into the oceans.

Food wrappers are one of the primary sources of litter on land. They are often made of non-biodegradable materials like plastic which can take years to decompose. This means that they can often end up clogging up landfills and polluting the environment, and they often contain harmful chemicals that can contaminate the ocean's ecosystem.

Secondary rubbish

Secondary rubbish is created when primary rubbish breaks down into smaller pieces. This type of rubbish includes microplastics, tiny pieces of plastic less than five millimetres in size.

1: Microbeads found in personal care products

Microbeads are tiny plastic pieces found in many personal care products, such as toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. They are used as an abrasive to help clean teeth and skin, but they are also a significant source of pollution.

Microbeads are so tiny that they flow right through water treatment plants and end up in inland waterways such as rivers and lakes, where they can harm fish and other aquatic creatures. In 2015, the United States banned the use of microbeads in personal care products, but many other countries have not yet taken action

2: Fibers from synthetic clothing

When you wear synthetic clothing, tiny fibres are released from the fabric and end up on your skin. These fibres can be harmful to your health because they can absorb chemicals from the environment and release them into your body. Studies have shown that these fibres can also cause inflammation and damage to the cells in your body. To avoid the health risks associated with synthetic fibres, limit your exposure to them and choose natural fabrics whenever possible.

3: Plastic pellets used in manufacturing

Plastic pellets are small, round pieces of plastic used in the manufacturing of plastic products. They are melted down and formed into the desired shape for the product. Pellets can come in various colours, depending on the type of plastic they are made from.

4: Broken-down pieces of larger plastic items

While the plastic itself is not biodegradable, it can often break down into smaller and smaller pieces over time, which can harm marine life and the environment. Broken-down fragments of larger plastic items can usually be found washed up on shorelines. These pieces can come from various sources, such as items that have been thrown away improperly or products that have been damaged in a natural disaster.

What are the Consequences for Humans?

New evidence shows that people consume a credit card size of microplastics every week in Australia. No part of the world has escaped the effects of plastic pollution and is found in the deepest part of the ocean with High levels of contamination in the Mariana Trench.

Help stop Microplastics from entering the environment.

Microplastics were found from Africa to North America and in the air in the French Pyrenees mountains, 2,877 metres above sea level and on the top of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.

This show how pervasively the planet has been contaminated.

To help stop microplastics from entering the environment, people can prevent using single-use plastics, recycle plastic materials, and properly dispose of plastic waste like soft plastics through government and business recycling initiatives.

There are many different materials that you as a consumer can use to replace plastic, including food usage. Some examples are metal, glass, and bamboo.

great alternatives to plastic for food storage

There are many great alternatives to plastic for food storage. Silicon freezer bags, glass containers suitable for freezer, beeswax paper, reusable lunch pouches, tin lunch boxes... the list goes on.

Glass containers are a great option as they are durable and are easily cleaned. They also do not leach chemicals into your food, as does plastic.

Stainless steel containers are another great option, as they are durable and non-toxic as long as they have BPA free coatings. They also do not absorb flavours or odours, making them an excellent choice for storing food.

Swap your laundry pegs for bamboo or stainless steel ones.

Laundry pegs are a necessary household item, but the traditional plastic ones can be harmful to the environment. Swap your old pegs for bamboo or stainless steel ones to help reduce your environmental impact. Bamboo pegs are biodegradable, while stainless steel pegs are durable and long-lasting.

A final alternative is using a reusable grocery bag instead of a plastic bag, helping reduce the amount of plastic produced each year.

Conclusion: The rubbish that ends up in our oceans has a devastating effect on marine life. This pollution also has severe consequences for humans.

We must take action to clean up our oceans before it is too late.

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