The Problem Of Marine Debris Essay

1185 Words Oct 22nd, 2015 null Page
It is well know that there is an ongoing plastic debris epidemic with an estimated 8 billion tonnes of plastic waste being dumped into the ocean each year (Walter, 2015). With the increasing growth of the human population and the ever expanding affluence of lower income countries plastic waste is only going to increase. Marine ecosystems will be the brunt of this crisis with most terrestrial plastic waste ending its journey in the oceans. The most fragile ecosystems, coral reefs, will be the first to deteriorate from the ongoing epidemic unless changes are made. 50-*0% of all life on the planet live in the oceans (UNESCO, 2015)
Marine debris originates from two main sources, terrestrial and ocean based sources. Ocean based sources include debris from gear used for fishing, waste from recreational and commercial vessels, offshore oil platforms and general waste from the ocean based tourist industry. However, the main source of marine debris is from terrestrial sources. This can be from general waste from landfill sites which enters the water system or could be from industries carelessly dumping there rubbish (Allsopp, Walters, Santillo, & Johnston, 2006). It is thought that 60-80% of marine debris is plastic (derraik, 2002). Plastic marine debris poses two main threats to marine organisms, the first of with is entanglement.
Entanglement affects most marine organisms in particular mammals as they are larger. Seals are particularly at risk of entanglement due to their…

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