Saving Our Seas From Plastic Pollution

Updated on December 5, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has a keen interest in environmental issues and how the natural environment should be preserved for the benefit of all living things.

Plastic Bag 'Jellyfish'
Plastic Bag 'Jellyfish'

The "Plastecine" Era

I was born in the 1950s, the same decade in which plastic came into general use and since then it’s become one of the major threats to all living things—a fact that’s more than just shocking, considering all the millions of years life has thrived on this planet. Throughout that time, Mother Nature took excellent care of the breakdown of waste materials so nothing built up in the environment or changed, but then along came humans who did everything contrary to nature.

Plastic never biodegrades; it's the Frankenstein's monster of the modern age. Nature just can’t deal with it. Even though it’s made from oil, which is a natural product, chemicals are added to create a material that’s so strong and durable it’s virtually indestructible. So plastic never really goes away and is, therefore, a permanent blot on the landscape and should be described as hazardous waste.

Fantastic Planet

A Limerick For The Seas
A Limerick For The Seas | Source

The Future Of The World Is In The Hands Of This Generation

You've got the whole world in your hands!
You've got the whole world in your hands! | Source

The Ocean is Fast Becoming a Plastic 'Soup'

Worse still, when plastic gets into the sea it photo-degrades which means light and heat from the sun breaks large pieces of plastic down into smaller and smaller particles which damage marine life and contaminate the ocean. Plastic also soaks up other contaminants so it becomes even more of a threat to marine ecosystems. We don’t even know the long-term effects of this 'plasticisation' of the oceans, but the prognosis is not good. Some beaches even have multi-coloured plastic ‘sand’ where these small particles frequently wash up. Wildlife mistakes them for food so they've entered the food chain where they cause all manner of disruption to the ecology from endocrine and reproductive problems to cancer. The fish and other sea food that you eat will contain these pollutants in their flesh.

I’ve always had a love of the sea, having been brought up on the coast. I can remember walking along a beach and seeing only driftwood and shells washed up with the seaweed but nowadays the vast array of plastic debris that litters the sea shore is horrifying. How did it get there? Surely people can’t be that careless about the environment? Discarded plastic can get into waterways and ends up in the sea along with other pollutants and trash that hasn't been responsibly disposed of.

Another source of ocean plastic pollution which will surprise many is the man made clothes we wear which are made from nylon fibres – a derivative of plastic. Every time an item of clothing is washed, it sheds microfibres into the waste water which eventually find their way to the sea. The technology exists to prevent this if water treatment plants install filters but it's all down to cost. Filters can also be fitted to existing washing machines and new washers can be manufactured with built-in filters. The extra investment needed for this is money well spent when you consider the positive impact it would make on the environment.

Plastic 'Soup'

Someone, somewhere has got to come up with a solution pretty damn quick before the oceans become a putrid, plastic 'soup,' devoid of all life.

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle!

You Can Help Save The Planet in Your Own Small Way!
You Can Help Save The Planet in Your Own Small Way! | Source

What Can the Ordinary Consumer Do About Plastic Polution?

I’m an ordinary housewife who like every other housewife on the planet puts out the household rubbish every day but how many of us really give a thought to where it actually ends up once it’s no longer in our backyard? We pay the council to take it away, right? ‘Not our problem anymore,’ some might say. I’ve often thought about all the plastic waste that an ordinary household produces in the course of a week before the bins are emptied and assumed that it would all be recycled but the disturbing fact is that most of the plastic produced each year is not recycled. It ends up in landfill where it leaches into the ground water and finds its way into rivers which flow to the sea. Bottles are usually recycled but other plastic food containers are often disregarded by many council recycling schemes.

300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year globally but less than 15% of that is actually recycled. As much as twelve million tonnes ends up in the oceans. You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out the imbalance in those figures. I feel that much more needs to be done to persuade plastic producers to find an alternative product that doesn’t damage the environment. Reuse, reduce and recycle by all means, but ordinary conscientious consumers like me will still make very little difference unless the problem is tackled at source. So who should bear the responsibility – the producer or the consumer? I feel the producers are the only ones who can deal with the problem effectively and come up with a workable solution. Consumers can only purchase what is on the shelves and unfortunately, there is hardly anything you can buy nowadays that isn’t made from plastic or doesn’t come packaged in the stuff. It was sold to the consumer back in the 1950’s as a ‘miracle material’ and indeed it was and still is with the correct usage, but now we are aware of how damaging it is to all living things, scientists need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something better. Plastics should really be defined as hazardous waste which would hopefully make people more responsible about their disposal and this will also help persuade plastics manufacturers to alter the formulation to render it harmless.

The problem of plastic pollution is what you call ‘a typical bathtub scenario.’ If you’re filling a bath and you don’t turn off the tap then the bathtub will soon overflow. You can pull out the plug to help matters but if the water continues to pour in, you will still get a deluge.

Discarded Plastic Fishing Lines Can Last 600 Years And Pose A Danger To Marine Life!

 Coloured nylon wire from ropes and fishing nets and other debris washed ashore
Coloured nylon wire from ropes and fishing nets and other debris washed ashore | Source

The Problem Of Ocean Plastic Pollution

The Recycling Imbalance

300 million tons of plastic are produced each year globally but less than 15% of that is actually recycled. As much as twelve million tons ends up in the oceans.

Social Media Works! Help Do Something Drastic About Plastic!

So what can you do to persuade plastic producers to turn off the tap? Writing to your local MP if you live in the UK might be a start or you can contact the equivalent government representative in the country in which you reside. Writing to the plastic producers themselves could also be an idea as is setting up a petition or signing existing ones.

Facebook is a great way to find out about just about anything nowadays; granted there is a lot of misinformation and as in all things you have to be discerning but it’s such a good way to generate ideas, so the more and more people who are motivated to get involved, the better. You don’t have to donate if you don’t want to but you can share in the circulation of ideas to help raise awareness. You might even be able to help find a solution by commenting. There is one site called Take 3 for the Sea and all you have to do whenever you're at the coast or near a waterway is take three pieces of plastic away and dispose of them. This will stop so much plastic getting into the waterways and will help protect the oceans. There are also many excellent sites which help raise awareness of plastic pollution and others that explain how plastic retrieved from the sea can be made into useful new items such as bags and clothing. Recycled single-use plastics can be made into blankets, tyres and even roads but the problem with the production of new plastics needs to be tackled at source as recycling is never enough in relation to the alarming rate at which new plastic is being manufactured.

The Problem Of Ocean Plastics Explained In Simple Terms

If you’re filling a bath and you don’t turn off the tap then the bathtub will soon overflow... you can pull out the plug to help matters, but if the water continues to pour in, you will soon get a deluge.

— Stella Kaye

Don't Commit "Mundicide!" Help Find a Solution to Plastic Pollution!

Some countries don’t have the facilities to recycle and worryingly they may not even have efficient waste disposal systems for normal waste.The world’s main plastic polluters are China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Sadly, any plastic debris from these countries can wash up anywhere on the planet. Better education and awareness of the problem will help limit the damage, wherever you live in the world as this issue affects us all. Plastic is even found on pristine beaches thousands of miles from any human habitation as it drifts wherever the tide takes it. Birds on islands such as Midway are dying of hunger with their bellies full of plastic bottle tops and assorted plastic debris. They feed it to their chicks who die too. Unfortunately many land animals and marine life cannot differentiate between plastic and the food that makes up their normal diet. Red, brown and pink coloured bottle tops are especially dangerous as they are the same colour as shrimps and other marine life which sea birds are accustomed to eating. Sea creatures are also particularly vulnerable to ocean plastic pollution as they become entwined in discarded fishing lines and other plastic related debris.Plastic bags give every appearance of jellyfish and are thus lethal when turtles try to feed on them, causing choking, entanglement and death.

The only way to stop the oceans and marine life from being damaged further is to halt plastic production in its current form until an environmentally friendly substitute is formulated and introduced. In the meantime, everyone can still do their bit to help tackle the problem by being responsible about the safe disposal of used plastic items and indeed all forms of waste.

Plastic Pollution Poll

Who Do You Think Should Bear The Main Responsibility For Keeping The Ocean Free Of Plastic?

See results

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Stella Kaye


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Bernis sabigaba 

      2 years ago

      lets keep our,wonderful green world hearthy ,live long my planet

    • OMG kids profile image

      Carter and Olivia Ries 

      2 years ago from Atlanta GA USA

      Our two young founders authored an award winning Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum after they learned first hand about plastic pollution. We need to educate the next generation of leaders about the severity of the issue and provide them with the tools they need to immediately start being the solution:

      Also check out their global OneLessStraw Campaign at

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the very good suggestions you make about helping to take plastic away from the ocean. Still the final solution is as you state: "persuade plastic producers to find an alternative product that doesn’t damage the environment." We really need to work on that.

    • Dasia Toston profile image


      3 years ago from North Carolina

      Its not a difficult process to throw away a plastic bottle rather than tossing it into the sea as if your delivering a message. After joining a company that sell products to donate to marine life the realization of this being an ongoing process and fight is baffling. We all live on this planet why not keep it safe


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)