People always think that waste is only in cities, on the ground, or in landfills. But the most trash is actually in the ocean. When all the trash ends up in the ocean,
t's effecting a lot of different things; animals, humans and the environment. Everything is affected by people throwing trash away irresponsibly. But, we can change
nd help save our oceans and the fish living in it.

Waste gets to the ocean in many ways. Such as, oil spills, toxic wastes or the dumping of harmful chemicals. Oil pollution is caused by big ships leaking oil or by ships carrying oil bumping into things. Garbage dumping occurs when sewage pipes share space with storm water drains. This causes garbage to mix with the water which leads to the ocean. Also, when farms use pesticides and it rains, the pesticide run off leads to the ocean. Cars cause ocean pollution, too. Cars produce smoke and the smoke leads to acid rain. When it rains, the acid rain gets into the ocean and other bodies of water. Lastly, the most harmful material that is dumped into the ocean is lead. Lead can damage the brain and kidneys. It is therefore very important that we become more aware of the consequences of our actions.

The pollution in the ocean doesn't only affect sea animals. It also affects us. After the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, fishing areas were closed to prevent people from eating contaminated seafood. Animals were coated in thick oil. Because of mercury and PCB contamination, the USEPA warns against eating too much seafood, especially swordfish, sharks, tile fish and mackerel. The ocean doesn't just provide seafood. Ocean resources also wind up in toothpaste, ice cream and other products. Lastly, half the oxygen we breathe comes from algae in the ocean.

The worlds largest landfill is actually not on land, but in the ocean. It's described as "waste island" and is the size of Texas. This waste is mostly made up of plastic, which helps endanger many species living in the ocean. Animals see the waste and think of it as food, so when they try to swim up and try go eat the waste, they could get stuck in the plastic. That soon puts them in the risk of being choked or dea within and few hours or days. Trash takes six to seven years to transport from the coast to the patch.

There are many endangered species in the ocean. Many are endangered through our own actions. They are helpless creatures that cannot protect or defend themselves against disasters. There are many whales that are in trouble such as, the Serving, Blue, Fin back, Jamaica, and Black-capped whales. The Long head and Green turtles are also harmed by pollution in the ocean. Even though sharks seem as if they are the toughest and strongest of the ocean, they also need help. Some endangered sharks are the Scalloped hammerhead, Sandbar, Night, Whale, Big-eye thresher, Great white, Dusty, and Gulper sharks. And lastly, the manatee is endangered. There are many more species, too many to list.


To the right is a video of a day old baby green sea turtle making its way to the ocean. Isn't it cute?

The solution is simple. Keep our waters clean. Each small action makes a difference. Do not toss anything into lakes, rivers or storm sewers. Reduce the amount of plastic you use. The government should have stricter regulations on industry and manufacturing. More renewable energy sources will get rid of off-shore drilling. Make sure to limit the amount of pesticides nearby farms or you, even, use. Make sure there is proper sewage treatment in your area. Cut down on the amount of waste and contain the landfills. Do whatever you can to keep garbage away from oceans. This will save you and the animals.

We decided to do our project on ocean pollution because we love animals. We love going to the beach. It is so sad to see animals in harm because of our actions. We felt the need to inform people about the dangers of polluting the earth and the consequences. Without the ocean life, our human race would change dramatically.

BioScience; May2011, Vol. 61 Issue 5, p393-397, 5p, 1 Chart