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Troubled Waters

There is more to what meets the surface... including the danger we are putting ourselves into.

This poor turtle was entangled with rope while trying to swim freely


        The ocean is in great danger. The ocean needs our help along with the thousands upon thousands of species that cannot speak for themselves. Ocean pollution is a problem that is mainly caused by human influence. How does ocean pollution affect you? Well, if you wanted to go to the beach instead of those beautiful Tumblr pictures you thought you would see, you would see the opposite. Trash along the beaches due to people not wanting to pick it up themselves. You might see beer cans or cigarettes in the sand. Or, you could encounter strange things like popped balloons or the rest of a candy wrapper. Despite your religion, philosophy, or dietary restrictions, the ocean is vital to all of us. 

How vital is it?

Economically speaking, ocean-based profit for businesses is well over 500 billion dollars. Take a deep breath. That very air comes from the ocean in some way or another. The ocean regulates the Earth with the water cycle. Without it, water would be scarce.

How do animals get hurt by our products?

We have all seen the picture of an ocean animal tangled in plastic and nets. Well, how did that happen to the animal in the first place? Most of it happens by mistake. An animal mistakes the plastic for food because they are covered in algae and bacteria. Leading it to get stuck in the digestive system, depending on the animal.

Our Food

Seafood is a good source of protein. Having sea animals that have eaten plastic and other unsafe small products means there's a chance those small plastic pieces will end up inside the fish. According to The Guardian, "... a study published in 2015, marine researchers bought fish at public markets in California and Indonesia and examined their stomach contents. Around one in four fish at markets in both locations had plastic particles in their guts." Unfortunately, scientists don't know how microplastics, as scientists call them affect a human. The FPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and other government organizations do not test the imported fish from the US for any contamination. 

How It Affects the Animals

Every marine animal is affected by what we put into the ocean. There isn't one marine animal that isn't affected. All of the toxic chemicals can be absorbed into plastic and other debris. The debris that animals consume now not only have toxic chemicals but harmful debris as well. These chemicals that are harmful to these animals can kill smaller animals. More specifically, it kills the smaller animals at the bottom of the food chain. It causes an immense problem for the animals all throughout the food chain. Animals near the top, that we eat give us a lack of animals that we consume. One chemical that hurts everyone is mercury. Mercury causes an unbalanced hormonal system, unstable behavioral shifts, as well as immense glandular issues. Mercury harms us as well. Many people, especially in Asian cultures, eat shark meat. However, due to mercury harming these sharks, when you eat it you consume mercury as well. That is extremely dangerous one of the examples most commonly known is muscle spasms.

What You Can Do

There are many ways you can help stop water pollution. Here are some of the easiest of them. Use less plastic. As simple as it seems, one way is to invest in a water purifier for your sink. This way, you can stop buying plastic water bottles and reuse a water bottle. You can use metal water bottles or whatever suits you.  Another way is to use less plastic is to swap your plastic straws with metal ones. You can reuse them and wash them.  Did you know that Americans use 500 million plastic straws in only one day? Surprisingly, even these small straws require fossil-fuel extraction (polypropylene). So, it not only harms the ocean but our climate contributing to global warming. Depending on the environment, plastic bags can take anywhere between 15 to 1,000 years to break down. In all people in the United States use 100 billion bags per year. Community service is a simple way to help the environment. It is so simple, and most of the time you don't even have to pay money to help out. It is as simple as searching on Google to find local ideas, events, and organizations. For example, Just Serve is an easy way to find events near you. 

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Troubled Waters
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