Impacts

Marine Organisms

Trash that finds its way into the ocean cause severe harm to marine wildlife such as seabirds, fish, and marine mammals. These animals are affected through consumption, entanglement, the transfer of chemicals to animal tissues, and by many other ways.

Plastic Bird

Humans

While animals are seen as having the most effect from pollution, humans are just as likely to be affected. Polluted areas pose a threat to the health of local marine animals. This, in turn, has an affect on individuals who consume such seafood, exposing them to chemicals and pollutants, they might not have been exposed to before. Humans are also affected in other ways. A news article from the New York Times in 1986 states the problems New Jersey locals are having with ocean pollution that is washing up on the shore. Multiple beaches were closed because of the pollution, affecting thousands of local businesses who rely on the tourism to keep their doors open.

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The Ocean

It may not be thought of, but the ocean itself is greatly impacted by pollution. While marine animals live in the ecosystems provided by the ocean, the ocean itself is at risk for not surviving. It is important to keep in mind how much the ocean provides for us and for our lives. Without it, it is difficult to imagine how life might be.

This TED talk by Captain Charles Moore illustrates the impact of plastic on the ocean. Charles Moore is the founder and research director of Algalita Marine Research and Education Institute to help protect and restore the marine environment. He has directed many voyages out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to conduct research on the area.