It's World Environment Day!
On this day of awareness and action on behalf of our environment, let’s explore some of the marine habitats most affected by plastic pollution.
World Environment Day is observed every year on June 5 as a way to encourage global awareness and action to protect our environment. Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues because it’s not limited to just one habitat. There isn’t a single place on Earth left untouched by the scourge of plastic pollution.
Researchers have already found microplastic (tiny pieces of plastic less than 5mm in length) everywhere from the remote Pyrenees mountains of France to the fertile farmland soil of China, from the core of the Arctic tundra to the ocean’s deepest trenches.
Keep reading to learn more about some of the marine habitats most impacted by plastic pollution and shop the bracelets that represent them.
Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor and support around 25% of all marine life. Yet a quarter of the world’s coral reefs are already considered damaged beyond repair. If the current rate of degradation and die-off continues, coral reefs could disappear from the ocean in just a few decades.
Mangroves and other estuaries provide countless benefits to humans. They offer critical nursing environments for the juveniles of thousands of fish species, many of which are consumed by humans. They also protect coastal communities from floods, erosion, and storm surge while helping to regulate the climate and counteract the effects of global warming. Yet it’s estimated that we’ll lose these critical ecosystems by 2100 unless we take drastic and immediate action to save them.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most complex and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. It supports nearly 9,000 aquatic species and is so large it can be seen from space. The cumulative effects of climate change, plastic pollution, industrial runoff, coastal development, overfishing, and extreme weather events are weakening the reef’s resilience and ability to recover, which has alarming implications for the ecosystem (and humans) that rely on it to survive.
The Everglades is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just like the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, and Serengeti Plains. It’s a vast expanse of subtropical wetlands unlike any other on the planet. Despite its significance, the Everglades has been dredged, diked, and drained to make way for agricultural and urban development. Microplastic pollution, nutrient pollution, invasive species, and sea level rise are also threats to the future of this historic ecosystem.
Plastic pollution anywhere is a problem everywhere
Everything on our planet is interconnected. The degradation of a single habitat is the degradation of all habitats. We must work together to protect our environment and end the global crisis of plastic pollution. Only together can we end the cycle of overproduction and overconsumption that causes plastic pollution. Only together can we end the ocean plastic crisis.