Plastic, A Danger for our Oceans

by louismekhael on September 8, 2017 - 3:24pm

A research was made by Danielle Green, a fellow in the Biochemistry Research Group at Trinity College in Ireland, on the impacts of plastic bags on the marine life. Her main questioning was about whether basic plastic bags or biodegradable plastic bags had the same effect on the oceans. After nine weeks of experiments, she found out that plastic bags diminished the quantity of microalgae by blocking the access to sunlight, oxygen and nutrients. Since the bottom of the food chain is not developing like it should, the rest of the chain has less food to grow so the quantity of each species reduces. So, even if we use biodegradable plastic bags, the consequences will almost be the same since it can’t decompose fast enough to change the major problem. Furthermore, even if the plastic bags completely decompose, microplastics will still be in the water and the organisms that consumes them will still be affected. If we look back at the statistics, we see that 1,500,000 tons of plastic were produced annually in the 1950s and today we produce almost 300,000,000 tons a year, which is a major increase. 40% of this quantity of plastic is single use packaging and a big portion of it ends up in marine environments. In consequence, 80% of the litter in these habitats is consisted by plastic. So, we should definitely reduce our consumption of plastic for the best of our marine life. 





Hi, thank you for informing me about the problems of compostable plastic bags. I knew about the problems of plastic bags we had but I was unaware of how seriously they infect our marine environment. You brought up good points about the biodegradable plastic bags and how they cannot decompose fast enough to help the major problem. They have also created an environmentally friendly strategy to try and get people to bring their own bags to the grocery stores like making customers pay for a plastic bag. However, this is not implemented everywhere. They also deliver groceries in paper bags or cardboard boxes. Paper bags use less energy to decompose rather than plastic bags. Cardboard boxes are also used from reusable materials which is a great advantage for the environment. Sea turtles are one of the main marine life species that are affected by the plastic in the oceans because when they eat the plastic, it gets stuck in their digestive track and makes them seem full when in reality, they are starving themselves. They are most affected because their main source of food is jelly fish, and in water, plastic bags look like jelly fish. Some biodegradable bags also only biodegrade in temperatures of 50c which is not possible in the ocean. Thank you for making me aware of some issues about plastic in the marine world.

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