The problem of rubbish and plastic pollution is problematic all over the world. Although most governments have made efforts to ensure that these issues are being recognised and managed, the issue continues to worsen. This has a huge number of dangerous consequences. It becomes a risk to marine animals and their habitats and deposits large amounts of waste that can take centuries to degrade, negatively effecting these ecosystems too.
This is why it’s more important now than ever to take better care in the way we dispose waste. In fact, it’s estimated that if we don’t make concrete changes now, there will be more rubbish in the ocean than fish by the year 2050!
Keep reading to find out how waste that ends up in the ocean specifically impacts marine animals and their ecosystems.
Ingestion of waste
Some of the most common debris that ends up in the ocean are plastic bottles, plastic bags, fishing gear such as nets, food packaging and packing materials. Things like plastic bags, food packaging, balloons and rubber waste can often be confused as food or prey by marine animals, and for obvious reasons, causes problems in their digestive systems. A common example of this is sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for jelly fish, which is a common food source for them.
Things like nets, plastic bags, fishing lines and the like, cause marine animals to get tangled up in them. In many cases, this can cause animals to lose their mobility, which can impede on their ability to find prey for food, which can then lead to starvation. Some animals can even face amputation from intense entanglement which can create infections, and again, a huge loss to their mobility, and therefore, their ability to protect themselves from predators too.
Destruction of marine habitats
Even without physically touching any marine animals, the waste that ends up in the ocean heavily impacts them. For example, coastal environments that have a large amount of waste floating atop the ocean will block sunlight from reaching the plant and marine life underneath. It can also impact the amount of light and oxygen that makes it through layers of debris, often times depriving the life living underneath from their basic needs to survive.
Overall, it may not seem like a huge deal that some marine animals lose their lives or are injured, however, as the number of animals of a certain species decreases, the entire food chain is disturbed. Not only will this influence other marine life, but also land animals that depend on sea life, and eventually, us too.
Here at Solo Resource Recovery, we are constantly improving our waste management systems to ensure that waste is disposed of in a safe and effective, yet sustainable way. To learn more about our waste management plans and services, contact one of our team members at 1300 46 76 56, and they’ll be happy to help, or leave a query in the Contact Us form on our website.