From 1999 to 2008 the amount of “plastic rubbish in the world’s oceans increased by 700%.” This growing presence of plastic in the ocean has and continues to have a dangerous effect on wildlife. According to marine biologist Jan van Franeker “birds have an average of 0.3 grams of plastic inside their stomachs,” in humans that would equate to “having a lunchbox full of plastic inside your gut.” Many species of birds eat dead fish that float on the surface and plastic waste is easily mistaken as a food source. The plastic can rupture the animals’ stomach, or take up so much space that it cannot digest food. Yet this occurrence is not limited to bird populations; dolphins, seals and whales have all been found to have plastic in their stomachs.
As more people become aware of the presence of plastic waste in our oceans, they are beginning to take action. In Hawaii, geography students from both the Hawaii Community College and the University of Hawaii at Hilo worked with members of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund to clean up the coastline of Ka’u. The majority of the waste removed consisted of plastics that were carried by the Pacific currents. Some governments may even start paying fisherman to catch and remove plastics and other forms of garbage from the ocean. It is our responsibility as a species to undo the damage we have caused to the ocean and its ecosystem. Please give the ocean a voice and sign our petition to stop trashing the oceans!