Let’s give marine life and the ocean a brighter future
By Nora Bernier-Pratt
Gliding along the ocean surface; rays of sunlight reflecting a mackerel pattern along its enormous blue gray-skin, is the unbelievable Blue Whale. Bigger than any fish, any bird, or dinosaur to ever live. Their long, slender bodies reaching lengths of up to 100 feet long and a weight of up to 160 tons. Sadly, throughout the past few years the numbers of Blue Whales have begun to increasingly drop. Today, they are considered an endangered species (meaning they are highly vulnerable to extinction). Scientists realize that the Blue Whale population is now only 10% of what they once were. If nothing changes, we can expect them to be extinct by the next generation. And by generations after that, Blue Whales will simply be a fictional character in children's story books, such as dragons, fairies, and other mythical creatures believed to be made-up.
Blue Whales are constantly ingesting plastic floating in sea waters, mistaking it for fish. The plastic does not get filtered out of the ocean so plastic then gets stuck in the digestive systems of marine animals. After digesting so much plastic, they will get very sick, no longer able to process food or swim and they will die.
Every year, more and more plastic and pollution is getting thrown into the ocean. This is damaging to the ocean's ecosystem and the marine life that call the ocean their home. Humans “use so much plastic that we send a shocking 12 million metric tons of plastic in the ocean each year”. The damage this causes is putting many of our marine life at risk of extinction. Such as, Sea Turtles, species of Sharks, Whales, Seals, certain fish and more.
Human consumption and big organizations, such as the fishing industry are huge reasons our oceans are so polluted today. Many Fishers will throw their fishing nets back into the ocean or drop them off their boats (not take the time to responsibly pick them up). These nets are left floating in the ocean where animals can easily find themselves caught in them. A shocking 650,000 marine animals die each year due to this irresponsibility. Many animals such as the shark, for example, need to swim constantly to be able to breath. So, when they are caught up in a net, it's most likely going to be fatal for them.
It’s not up to the nets to clean themselves up or for the marine life to swim around them, it’s up to humanity. People need to take this into their own hands and start taking responsibility in order to save these endangered species from extinction. Let’s give marine life and the ocean a brighter future.
Every time you use a plastic toothbrush you are contributing to the yearly 23 billion toothbrushes that end up either in landfill or the ocean. A shocking 99% of manufactured toothbrushes are plastic and only 1% of toothbrushes are wood/ecofriendly. So, when buying a toothbrush: think first. Even if one is more expensive than the other, is it worth the possible damage it could do? My answer to this is: every little bit helps.
Some of our beautiful ocean animals are on the verge of extinction. But they don’t have to be. If every person came together and started making small changes now, we can begin to reverse what we have collectively done - it is not too late. But if we wait much longer, the damage that has been done will be irreversible.
In making this article I would hope that people are more aware of this subject and think next time they use plastic, and what challenges marine animals must face because of the choices we, as a human society, make. It’s up to us to reverse this.
So, I must ask: what choice are you going to make?