One World. Five Oceans. 7.4 Billion People. And One Massive Problem. Ocean Pollution.
Discarded fishing nets and other ghost gear items are the cause of deaths of 300,000 dolphins and porpoises each year. Annually over 100,000 sea mammals and one million seabirds lose their lives as a result of ocean pollution (1). It’s a simple process you have garbage, you throw it in the trashcan, you take your trashcan out to the side of the road, and the trash is dispersed of, but where does it go? Your trash is making a journey around the world. It is being broken down into small, even microscopic, pieces, or it is disintegrating into its chemical components. Either way, your trash is causing a huge impact on the animals, people, and ecosystems of the world. Previously, humans assumed that because the ocean was so enormous the dumping of trash into it would not cause a disastrous impact on the ecosystem however, they were exceptionally wrong. A large majority of the debris that is invading our home is a result of big corporations who don’t take responsibility of waste and don’t exhibit concern for end-of-life products. The blame can’t be put solely on big corporations however, our need for continuously cheaper goods made from unsustainable, short-life expectancy products fuel the corporations to keep doing what they’re doing (2).
More specifically, the problem of water pollution is in full effect right in our home. Water pollution is threatening Florida’s shores, along with the tourism industry. Almost all popular beach destinations have been affected however, the area around the town of Stuart on the Treasure Coast, where the St. Lucie river empties into the ocean, has seen the greatest effects from our disastrous behavior. This pollution is causing the usual clear blue waters of the Atlantic to become murky deterring tourist, and harming water-dependent businesses such as; commercial fishing, hotels, restaurants, and many more. Not only will Florida’s economy take a hit, but ecosystems that depend on the coasts such as; seagrasses, oyster beds, and fish populations, will be greatly devastated by these anthropogenic actions (3). We need to decide that the health of the planet that we occupy is more important than cheaper products. We need to make the environment and the animals living in it a priority. We need to decide what our home is worth and then we need to make a change.
Ghost gear: Is any discarded, lost, or abandoned, fishing gear in the marine environment (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ghostfishing.html)