Anthropogenic commodities like plastic straws are detrimental to our ecosystem. Marine life is choking on waste, like plastic straws and bags. We chose to support the cause of cleaning our oceans because marine life provides a balance to our ecosystem. It isn’t just one sea creature dying. It’s the beginning of the collapse of the food web and the entire biosphere.
Plastic pollution is so pervasive in some areas that it affects the turtle’s reproduction rates by altering temperature of the sand. Recently as I went into depth on the concept of marine life dying, I realized the long-term impacts.
Turtles help maintain the habitat by constantly grazing on sea grass. The constant grazing increases its productivity. Without this, the sea grass would grow too long and stop currents, shade the sea floor, decreasing productivity, and create a perfect environment for molds to grow. Turtles also bring nutrients to the dunes, allowing for vegetation to grow and the ecosystem to flourish.
Plastic waste also negatively impacts fish. Plastic particles in water could make its way to fish brains thus causing permanent damage. Nanoparticles in plastic are consumed by fish which is a major problem, not only for the fish eating it and developing brain problems, but also its a threat to animals eating the fish because of the process of bioaccumulation, which is when these nanoparticles are transported and spread to other aquatic organisms through consumption of an organism with the plastic in their system.
Upon ingestion of plastic, which the fish cannot digest, they always feel full, they don’t get the much-needed nutrients, and ultimately could die from starvation. Also, they could just choke on the plastic. The same logic applies to larger animals, such as whales and sharks. Plastic pollution can potentially be detrimental to all marine health.
As we researched, we came to the realization that water contamination is not just limited to the aquatic biome. Traveling to India every year to visit my family, I saw the issues that people faced with the lack of clean water and water scarcity. Water is something so basic and the keystone to all life. Everything needs water in order to flourish. You would think water is a basic human right, and although everyone deserves clean water, not everyone has access to it. People have to travel vast distances to get something as fundamental as clean water.
We focused on three aspects of water:
· Water to drink - Clean water is essential because contaminated water can be fatal. Millions around the world die from water contamination. People in places experiencing drought have no access to water at all. Water borne disease are highly prevalent in areas where clean water is unavailable, sometimes even leading to fatalities. Dehydration is one of the main causes of weakness among the young and vulnerable age group.
· Water for hygiene and sanitation - Water is essential to keep our bodies and environment clean. Keeping basic hygiene decreases the occurrence of illness and disease. In present times, as we are dealing with the deadly COVID-19 virus, we have realized that hand washing is the most effective way to reduce the spread of this deadly virus. Without access to clean water, this objective will be unattainable. It’s imperative to provide water to the parts of world, where clean water is a scarcity.
· Water for dignity - Certain sections of society, like poorer communities’ resort to using contaminated water to clean themselves in absence of clean water. So, the waste of the rich is used for the poor’s personal sanitation, leading them to have not only weaker bodies but also weaker mindsets.
We believe that clean water is the most crucial factor for all forms of life, be it animals, humans, and even plants. The polluted ocean water can create great problems for the future of our biosphere as vast numbers of marine organisms are dying and without these organisms our biosphere would lack the necessary balance. Without this balance, invasive species and competition between species would become more prevalent. Some species would lose food sources and starve, while others would lose predators and overpopulate. Similarly, contaminated water is disastrous for the future of humans. The vast amount of diseases, as mentioned above, are undeniable and are killing and sickening a myriad of people around the world.