Earlier this week, a short fin male pilot whale died and washed ashore in southern Thailand. During the autopsy, veterinarians removed more than 80 plastic bags from the whale’s stomach.
In March 2018, researchers based in the Netherlands used a fleet of boats and aircrafts to scan the immense accumulation of bottles, containers, fishing nets and microparticles known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (GPGP) and found an astonishing build-up of plastic waste. The researchers gave a clear warning that if the accumulation of plastic garbage keeps on piling up, it will harm no one but humans.
The heavy use of plastics has not only affected the creatures living on land but also the marine life as well. “The amount of buoyant plastic found in GPGP is almost 80,000 tonnes which is equal to the weight of around 500 jumbo jets,” said Laurent Lebreton, lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The researchers found that the dump now contains around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, posing a dual threat to marine life. Microplastics, tiny fragments of plastic smaller than 50mm in size that make up the vast majority of items in the GPGP, can enter the food chain when swallowed by fish. The reason for the piling up of non-degradable waste in the ocean is because junk thrown on land often winds up in the seas.
A recent study by the UK government warns that without intervention, the amount of plastic cluttering the Earth’s oceans will triple within a decade. The report from the UK Government Office for Science found that 70% of marine litter is non-degradable plastic. The research throws light on the other side of the problem that no part of the earth remains untouched by the effect of plastic.
Various organizations and NGOs have taken up initiatives to clean the beaches because the first point of garbage entry into the ocean is from it. Efforts are being made to make minimum use of plastic because. Recently several Bollywood celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor and others have taken up the initiative to drop the idea of using plastic bottles and use steel water bottles instead. The initiative was taken up on June 5, 2018, i.e. World Environment Day with the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution (it was this year’s theme on world environment day set by the environment ministry).
Other than this we as a citizen should also take some measures in keeping the environment clean and should refrain from using plastic as much as possible. Because what goes around comes around so is the case with fishes eating microplastic and then becoming a part of the food chain and being eaten by humans.