Pollution is getting into our oceans. Pollution can include sewage, chemicals, and fertilizers, but one of the main problems is plastic. Plastic doesn’t decompose. So, if it gets into our ocean, it could stay there forever. Plastic is everywhere, and it can come in different forms. When it gets into the ocean, it does not always float. Sometimes it sinks and while sinking gets jostled around, breaking it into tiny pieces called microplastics. Sea creatures can eat plastics and microplastics, thinking they are food, and get sick.
Scientists think about 8 million metric tons of plastic get into our oceans each year. Now many New Mexicans may ask “ but I don’t live near any oceans. Why should I care?” Well, every stream or river, including the Rio Grande, eventually leads into the ocean. Drainages like storm drains can also lead to the ocean.
“If pollution is so bad, what can we do to stop it?” is a question people may ask. One of the best ways to help is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It is important to recycle plastic instead of burning it because when you burn plastic, it releases a toxic substance into the air. When it sits out in the sunlight, the same toxic substance seeps into the soil and kills plants. Actually, reduce and reuse are better than recycling, but recycling still helps.
More ways are to take your own reusable bags to the store, use a reusable water bottle or reuse water jugs, say no to plastic take-out silverware, and don’t smoke. Cigarette butts don’t decompose. Also, smoking is bad for your lungs.
Pollution in the oceans is a very big problem and it can affect more than just the oceans. Even in a landlocked state, we can all do our part to stop marine pollution.