How Reducing Ocean Plastic Pollution Protects Marine Life & Beyond

How Reducing Ocean Plastic Pollution Protects Marine Life & Beyond

Our oceans are currently suffering from a plastic pollution crisis, far worse than anyone can really imagine. While it may just seem like an issue of immense amounts of trash causing an unappealing or unsafe environment, the truth is that this pollution issue is significantly impacting many different ecosystems in dire ways, including our own lives.

According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, plastic waste is currently the cause of 80% of all marine pollution and on average, 8 to 10 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. This staggering number is only growing, and research estimates that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Without action, ocean plastic pollution will continue to pose extreme risks to the livelihood of all inhabitants of our planet.

What Are the Main Causes of Our Plastic Pollution Crisis?

If we understand why we have a plastic pollution problem, then we can more effectively pinpoint a solution to tackle this issue, small steps at a time. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the majority of plastic debris in our oceans comes directly from the improper disposal and littering of plastic products by humans. Additionally, it can also be attributed to poor waste management, natural disasters, and storm water discharge.

Another contributor is industrial fishing, which can cause the abandonment of fishing gear and equipment and other plastics that can harm and kill marine life and their habitats in the ocean.

The Effect of Plastic Pollution On Our Planet

Plastic isn’t just littering our beaches and making travel destination spots less attractive for tourists. It is literally poisoning food supplies through microplastics, contributing to global warming, and negatively impacting the lives of local communities who depend on the ocean to survive. 

The production of plastic releases more greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. Microplastics enter into marine life, potentially harming and killing them, while also being transferred into our own food supply, posing a huge threat to human health.

Communities around the world depend on our oceans for their entire livelihood, including as employment and food sources. Plastic pollution can deeply impact the lives of those who depend on marine resources to make a living and can lead to a myriad of health problems for those communities which rely on the ocean as a food source due to microplastic infestation.

Plastic Won’t Just Disappear – Action Is Needed

We can’t just sit around and wait for the plastic in the ocean to solve itself. Unfortunately, it takes hundreds of years for plastic to degrade, meaning it needs to be removed in order for the problem to be tackled. 

Even more alarming, some plastic will degrade but not fully, leading to microplastics. Microplastics are rarely degradable meaning they never go away, and are hard to detect. They easily make their way into the diet of marine animals, eventually ending up in the food supply of people on land. This can cause an enormous amount of health issues and food instability.

How Can We Reverse Our Plastic Pollution Crisis?

In order to try to make a difference in the current state of our planet, it’s important that steps are taken to not only combat the pollution that is in the ocean now, but to do what we can to prevent even more pollution from entering our oceans.

Here are a few ways an individual can help do their part in reducing plastic pollution:

  • Support businesses that are sustainability conscious and contribute to pollution cleanup efforts
  • Volunteer to assist with ocean cleanups locally, if possible
  • If you have the means to, donate to causes that directly contribute to the cleanup of oceans or prevention of future pollution
  • Reduce your own plastic consumption – eliminate all single-use plastics, including water bottles
  • Purchase products that use sustainable, recyclable materials rather than plastic packaging
  • Educate yourself on proper waste disposal and recycling practices
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Avoid products that contain microbeads, such as those in face washes or body scrubs

By making just a few adjustments in your life, you can help make a difference in the current plastic pollution problem.

How VisitorsCoverage Is Making a Difference

In January 2024, VisitorsCoverage announced our latest sustainability partnership with 4ocean, an organization dedicated to the cleanup of our oceans. As a travel insurance company, we deeply care about the health of our planet and its people, and want to ensure safe and beautiful travel for all for decades to come.

As part of our latest sustainability effort to help clean up our oceans, we are proud to announce that in just 1 month since the start of our collaboration with 4ocean, we have helped contribute to 5,000 pounds of plastic being removed from the oceans and rivers of Indonesia. 

For us, this is just a small step in the right direction, and we will continue to stand strong on our commitment to sustainability and contributing to causes that positively impact the future of our world.

Learn more about our latest sustainability initiatives.

Reducing Plastic Pollution Will Protect Animals, Environments, & People

A reduction in ocean plastic pollution will make a significant difference for marine life, ocean habitats, humans, and the future of the planet. 

Animals will face less exposure to harmful microplastics and other plastic materials that can be ingested or become trapped in. 

Ocean habitats will be less polluted with plastic, allowing for marine life to grow and thrive. 

Greenhouse gas emissions from the ocean will reduce, hopefully reversing some of the effects of global warming, ensuring a safe place to live for all in the near future. 

People who rely on the ocean to survive will have a safe and clean food supply and will be able to access the ocean resources they need to work and strive.

If we all pitch in and do what we can to reduce current plastic pollution and prevent future pollution, there’s no doubt that we will make the world a better place.