The ocean is swarmed with plastic. The plastic manufactured on land usually ends up in the water through seas, rivers and various water bodies. The vast amount of plastic, debris, and sludge which is dumped in the waters have accumulated in the Pacific Ocean to form the Great Pacific garbage patch extending over an area of 1.6 million square kilometres.
It’s quite difficult to identify the exact plastic items that cause the plastic pollution. The plastic breaks down into microplastics and smaller plastic parts but never disappears completely.
But studies and researches around the world have recognised the different kinds of products that constitute most of the plastic debris in oceans.
1. Fishing Gear
Fishing nets are the main culprit behind the vast ocean plastic. After fishing, these nets are discarded in the sea. Approximately, 640,000 tons of fishing gear constitute one-fifth of the plastic in the ocean and are responsible for the death of 650,000 marine animals in just one year including whales, seals, turtles, dolphins and thousands more.
They are also called ‘ghost nets’ because usually they are too thin and entangle the non-targeted species while fishing. Even the abandoned nets cause harm to marine animals.
2. Plastic from Human Lifestyle
The plastic that comes from the land takes the crown of all the plastic debris in oceans. The items include- cigarette butts, caps and lids, plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers, plastic cutleries, straws etc.
3. Plastic from Industries
The industries often convert plastic into small pellets for transportation and manufacturing. This plastic often ends up in the ocean through rivers and other water bodies.
4. Microbeads thought Drainage
This plastic is the nastiest one. The microbeads used in cosmetics, toothpaste, facewashes for ease in scrubbing are smaller than 1mm. They are called microbeads. They are easily drained into the ocean and are most difficult to remove.
The products like toothpaste, face washes, scrubs, nail paints, sunscreens, lotions, shaving creams and other personal care products containing plastic beads are banned in many countries.