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plastic pollution for kids

7 Facts about Ocean Plastic Pollution for Kids

December 13, 2021 - Tin Lok Wu

Plastic is cheap and efficient, which is why it has become such an essential part of our daily lives. But because of it, we are also generating a lot of plastic pollution, which is harming our oceans and all the marine animals that live in it. There are seven facts about ocean plastic pollution for kids to learn. 

Plastic Pollution Facts for Kids

More Than 8 Million Tonnes of Plastic Enter the Ocean Every Year

We generate about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, and 8 million tonnes of it ends up in the ocean. That’s the same amount as the weight of 2 million elephants combined. 

Marine Animals Will Accidentally Eat Plastic Waste

Plastic waste floating in the water can look a lot like food to marine animals. 33% of fish were found to have consumed plastic, which is chemical and toxic, and poses threats to their health or even kill them.

3 Billion People in the World Regularly Eat Fish

About half of the world’s population eats fish regularly. When fish eat plastic waste, we are also eating food that is contaminated. We still don’t know the full extent of how consuming plastic could harm human bodies. 

Plastic Waste Traps Animals

Plastic waste in the ocean can trap animals easily. Unlike us, they don’t have hands to untangle themselves from fishing nets or plastic packaging rings, which prevents them from eating or swimming, and causes them to even drown. 

Plastic Waste Will Never Go Away

Okay, this is not entirely accurate. Plastic waste in the ocean can take nearly 450 years to decompose. Plastic pollution will keep piling up until we stop producing more plastic. 

Plastic Breaks Down into Microplastics

When plastic decomposes, it breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics. Although we can easily pick up plastic waste littered on coastlines to reduce pollution, it’s near impossible to pick from microplastics as they are so tiny that they can’t be seen with human eyes. Despite their size, they can be just as harmful as other plastic and more likely to be eaten by fish.

Ocean Plastic Pollution Will Triple by 2040

It is estimated that ocean plastic pollution will triple by 2040 if we do nothing to stop it and the world keeps producing more plastic than ever. However, if we take action to reduce this plastic litter, the amount could be cut by 80%. 

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