WHY IS PLASTIC DANGEROUS FOR MARINE LIFE?
Author: Vandana, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from SRM University Delhi NCR
Co-author: Ruhani, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from SRM University Delhi NCR
“To Save The Creatures In Our Ocean
We Have To Set The Wheels In Motion
Dump No More Rubbish Waste Or Plastic
And Our Seas Could Be Furnished "
The question in the beginning appeared to be quite ordinary ,isn’t it? But , in the reality , it consists of manifolded sphere of life , left unquestioned by human conscience. It is said that “homo sapiens” are the species with highest IQ on the earth. But interestingly , this fact fades down , when it comes to protect our own planet. Human beings are recklessly producing plastic waste in order to fulfill their never-ending greed ,neglecting the other species living on the planet especially marine life.
Our earth's ocean is known as an habitant to millions of plant and animal species with a enormity of unexposed species and mysteries .It is the homeland from the largest mammal on the earth to the smallest organism i.e. planktons and bacteria. Our earth is also known as “blue planet” as 71% of water content is present. In our balanced ecosystem, marine life is much more connected to life on earth as oceans provide 50 percent world 's oxygen and provide essential ecosystem services that allow our planet to function in a proper way.The life on earth and marine life is affiliated to each other in one or another way by the concept of human intervention as the choices made by us grievously aftermath well-being of aquatic life.
“Our planet is not only belonging to us , but otherspecies have also equal share of it and we, humans have no right to damage someone’s homeland. “
PLASTIC, A THREAT TO MARINE LIFE
One of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind is “polyethylene” or ubiquitously known as “plastic”. It is both a curse and blessing to mankind. In the era of industrialization and modernization, the usage of plastic is inescapable and the same are its negative after-effects. Unfortunately, Plastic is almost an indestructible entity as it doesn’tdecompose. these micro - plastic floating in the ocean is consumed by the marine life such as fish, turtles, coral reefs etc. and put their life in the danger.Floating plastic also accumulates microbes and algae on the surface that gives it an odor that’s appetizing to some sea animals. Once animals consume it, ingested plastic can pierce internal organs or cause fatal intestinal blockages; it also leads to starvation, because a stomach crammed with plastic gives an animal the illusion of being fullSince,these naïve animals are unable to digest it, ultimately leading to horrifying death and the stain of their blood lays on our handsDo you know by such human intervention hundred million Marine animals die each year because of plastic waste alone and past 10 years we have made more plastic then the last century and but 2050 the pollution of fish will be outnumbered buy the dumped plastic. Moreover, every year about a million of water animals especially turtles loses their lives being caught in the “ghost gear”.
Recent study founded sea turtle that in this just 4 pieces of plastic have an increase link of that another study reveal plastic waste skills up to up million sea birds a year. Scientist estimate percent of all keyboard species have eaten pieces of plastic and the figure that predict it will rise to 99% by 2050.
The pollution by plastic in ocean has become a region of concern as it takes 500 to 1000 years to degrade and currently 79% of total plastic waste is sent to landfill or the ocean while only 9% is recycled and 12% get incinerated.The major concern is time of degradation of plastic and the fact that majority of marine life cannot differentiate their food from plastic we have dumped cause these animals to start to death clogging their stomach with plastic so they can't eat real food are these Marine plastic pollutions is found in 100% of turtles 59% of whales and 36% of seals in recent studies.
Plastic causes an irreparable harm to us and in other sense, we are also affected as land and marine life is interconnected in terms of food chains andecosystem. If one system is disturbed, then automatically other one is also.
As per 2018, fish consumption statistics,about 88% of the total productionwas used for direct consumption, which is undoubtedly a large figure and will lead to loss of the oceans as the food source leading to widespread sufferings and disaster throughout the world. It is crystal clear that the control over the waste plastic dumped in the water bodies needs to be controlled.
This has a great ambit and potential of causing threat to marine life as it lead to failure of reproductive system leading to extinct of species and may contribute to eutrophication, where dissolved oxygen content will reduce in the water.
Even if we look at the theory of origin of life , the first form of life , microbes also started flourishing in the oceans and seas ,then polluting these waterbodies possessed a serious concern .Therefore , in order to protect our environment and seas, we need to ban the plastic and no additional “statement of noble intent” Moreover,these facts and figures are clear indication of seriousness of the situation and how crisis by the plastic related to marine life is need of the hour to be resolved.
LAWS RELATED TO PROTECTION
Every year on 8 June world oceans day is celebrated for inspiring the action to protect the ocean and sustainably use the ,marine resources.The ministry of environment ,forest and climate change , government of India, has notified the plastic waste management amendment rules,2021, which prohibits identified single use plastic items which has low utility. In addition , a national task force has been constituted for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate the single use plastic items . In dealing with the Indian laws, the policies have been settled in banning the single use plastic. Moreover the introduction of changes in the thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from fifty microns to seventy microns , which will be beneficial for the sustainable growth.
The global programme of action (GPA) the protection of the marine environment from land based activities ,addressing the connectivity between terrestrial , freshwater , coastal and marine ecosystem. International conventions , MARPOL CONVENTION (1973) covering the pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
London convention(1972) with the objective to control the all source of marine pollution and taking practicable steps to control dumping of the waste in the oceans.
GREENPEACE , an NGO that is dedicated to conserve the oceans and marine life by banning destructive fishing practices , companies changing their fishing policies and creation of whale sanctuaries.
There is a need for an assessment to follow on from UNEP efforts and to collate the available scientific information and make recommendation that will use different variety of policies for industrial and societal issues with implementation by organization that have responsibility in their areas to call such assessment with overall Marine debris and waste management and its should include new and existing program of monetary Marine habitat especially National and regional programs.
The report by GESAMP has also focused on recommendations tackling the issues which should be followed by other sponsoring agencies and relevant working groups on the area to conduct an assessment of microplastic and coastal and open ocean.
S JAGANNATH V. UNION OF INDIA & ORS
Considering the increase in the marine pollution and degradation in the marine resources, the need of identifying the critically polluted areas of the marine environments, specially in coastal waters , for urgent remedial actions.
MC MEHTA V. UNION OF INDIA 
In this case a writ petition was filed by the environmentalist MC Mehta, highlighted the pollution of the Ganga river by the hazardous industries located on the banks .in this judgement ,the court held that tyranny of the plastic waste dumped cannot be permitted.
Although , there are several causes of marine pollution such as oil mining, sewage releasing and so on but the grave danger with throwing the indestructible devil in the oceans . There is clarion call to fight with the said danger in unified and collective manner.
The concept of BLUE ECONOMY has been introduced which really based on the minimizing the marine debris. It focuses on the exploitation , preservation and regeneration of the marine environment.
In my opinion , every life is precious irrespective of their characteristic and features, therefore there is dire need of educating people to ban the usage of plastics. Moreover, these laws should be strictly implemented all over the world without any relaxation given to the culprits.
Plastic is the most destructive weapon then nuclear bomb or an atom bomb, and it's shall remain for centuries on the future generation and we humans have become so dependent on plastic for range of uses from packaging to product that it impact in a hazardous way to the humans and the marine life with the problem concerning the marine life is the need of the hour so to tackle the issue GESAMP (Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) has depicted the real picture of the marine life and major causes for there endangered situation with recommendations to solve them.
The major reason ted by the group of expert is limited information on the quantities of microplastic entering the oceans or on the process and time skills leading to fragmentation and production of microplastic by industry the group also stated that the information is limited about the potential long term hazards of microplastic either due to the physical or chemical property.
The degree to which micro-plastics accumulate in the sediment and the role of oceanic cycling in transferring micro-plastics from pelagic environment to sediments - some plastics have a greater density than water, and the pattern of deposition and the local and regional distribution for a range of particle densities is unknown;
The significant factors in the breakdown of plastics, e.g. ageing, UV, physical fragmentation, bio-degradation - different plastics may be more durable and have different degradation behaviour depending on the environment (e.g. Fulmar stomach, coastal wave environment)
To conclude out the key respect of report and other facts and figures we can state that there is a need for scientist to express damage and terms that can be easily understood by the general public where resources are limited and it will be important to focus on policy that deliver to the largest proportion of the population on the most important sociological and health issues with concerning microplastic which might be considered as the main issue with key approach to tackle should be focus on educating with restriction on the use of plastic the restriction are already been taken by the government of India with the support of United Nations and other their key agencies with hoping to address the issue to save out the life in ocean with lot to Done