Plastic wastes washed up into the oceans are ingested by the smallest and biggest marine species costing their lives.
Every year, tons of plastic products get dumped not only in rivers, lakes, and waterways but also in the oceans. Different animals that live in the waters mistook them for food. It might be convenient for people to use styrofoam and plastics for chemical containers or food packaging but did manufacturers think of the harm it could impose on all living creatures on the planet? Also, did consumers regard the proper usage or disposal of the plastic wastes?
In Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia, a 9.5-meter or 31.17-foot dead whale was discovered. The marine park is well-known and preferred by divers because of its huge area of reefs and assorted aquatic life which include stingrays and whales.
The sea mammal was found near the Kapota Island (part of the park), southeast of Sulawesi. Almost 6 kilograms or 13.2 pounds of plastic wastes are found in its stomach including 115 cups. The death of the sperm whale, however, was not known but it clearly shows what could have to lead the animal to its demise.
Giant squids lead the main menu in the diet of a sperm whale. It also feasts on fishes, shrimps, crabs, small sharks, and octopus. The scarcity of food might have encouraged the giant sea creature to ingest plastic wastes mistaking it for food. Sperm whales traverse the world’s oceans and are one of the endangered animals listed in the Endangered Species Act. It is likewise considered as reduced according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The country’s Minister of Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan remarked that the government has advised shops to refrain from providing plastic bags to customers. It started to conduct an educational program in schools to inform children regarding the problems that plastic wastes generate.
According to the 2015 Ocean Conservancy report, Indonesia ranks second preceding China as the worst plastic polluters of the oceans. Other Asian nations including the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam all contribute to the 55% of the entire plastic dumping.
One notable brand manufacturer, SC Johnson operates a business in Indonesia. It will work with Plastic Bank that deals with the curtailment of plastic ocean-based
garbages. The environment-friendly campaign will initially start in Indonesia that will accommodate 8 plastic collection sites across the country. In return, people who will take their plastic rubbish to the plastic center will receive cryptocurrency that can be used to buy commodities.
The initiative will not only benefit the people of Indonesia but also save the marine animals from extinction. Once the campaign becomes successful in Indonesia, neighboring countries will soon serve as additional plastic centers for recycling plastics wastes while providing incentives in the form of cryptocurrency. Further, utilizing blockchain technology will considerably impair embezzlement guaranteeing that each center will remain honest and trustworthy.
For several decades, the giant company has been operating in Indonesia and still counting. It promised the country a yearly sum of not less than $1B to reduce the number of plastics and other plastic pollutions. It targets 70% reduction in marine garbage pollution by 2025.
What can you do to reduce the plastic pollution in the ocean?