A Polluted Ocean Makes for a Polluted Economy
To expand on the issue, the negative effects even span out to the economy. The first image that enters the mind at the thought of the phrase “ocean pollution” probably isn’t a destroyed economy, but that’s exactly what the result will be. Everyday, millions of people litter the ground with plastic, paper, and metals that get transferred into the ocean or into massive areas of land. This process is what ultimately will lead to a destroyed economy. As previously stated, microplastics are a huge cause of the reduction of sea life because it’s harder to detect by sea animals and its interrupting the cycle of the way animals eat. The “United Nations Environment Programme” reported that “Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year. This decreased population of sea life will ultimately cause the economy to take a hard hit. Due to the fact that the material of plastic doesn’t ever fully break down back into the earth, microplastics become difficult to see, especially for hungry fish searching for something to eat. These fish that intake the pollution in the ocean get eaten by bigger fish and when these sea animals wash up on land, they have things like bottle caps and straws inside them that never fully got digested into their systems.
Seafood is a huge part of the global food economy whose future is threatened by the devastation caused by plastic pollution. According to Worldwildlife, “Approximately three billion people in the world rely on both wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein. As the largest traded food commodity in the world, seafood provides sustenance to billions of people worldwide.” There aren’t going to be anymore people consuming seafood if all the sea animals are either dead from ocean pollution or have hundreds of bits of plastic inside them. Ocean pollution serves as a direct hit to the seafood market which in turn hurts the economy due to the fact that all those people who were once redistributing their money into society will decrease because the seafood market will not exist anymore. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states the extreme benefits that the fishing industry give to the economy. Not only did it generate over two-hundred billion dollars in sales, but it also creates 1.6 billion jobs. Without the fishing industry, not only will this be detrimental in economic matters, but the total unemployment line will increase. Both money and jobs will be lost. And these factors are at stake from the steady rise in ocean pollution.
The seafood market is an example of a direct correlation to how detrimental ocean pollution can be on the economy, but there are other examples that aren’t as blatant. The beach market is also a huge contributor to the economy. The beach is one of the most desired locations for vacations. The endless stretch of sand, the beautiful vast and relaxing waves, and the feeling of excitement and satisfaction as the two come together before one’s very own eyes. These year long dreams will be slowly diminished if ocean pollution stays at a steady increase. The National Geographic reports that “Every year, tens of thousands of people worldwide volunteer for the Sisyphean chore of picking up trash from beaches. The largest effort is conducted every September by the Ocean Conservancy, which in 30 years of cleanups has collected 300 million pounds and more than 350 types of items.” They go on to quote Nicholas Mallos, the leader of these cleanups who says, “I have been on beaches in Hong Kong, Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, and Indonesia where you can watch plastics and debris in the barrel of each wave crash onto the beach. Literally, the trash starts getting replaced as soon as you pick it up.” The attraction for beaches is to escape reality and relax, but who can relax when the reality of the world’s ecological problem of ocean pollution is waiting for you at every beach? According to the U.S Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, Table 1240, 58.67 million people went to the beach in 2010. These numbers are going to drastically drop after the beaches become so filled with plastic that no one wants to visit them anymore. Again, the question may arise of how this affects the economy, well, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points out how Tourism and recreation account for 72 percent of the ocean economy’s total employment and 31 percent of its GDP. These numbers prove how ocean pollution causes various harsh results for our world economically.
The beach and the seafood market both contribute greatly to the economy, but what about the costs of ocean pollution that the world may not have to pay right now, but in the future. Based on the current state of our planet, the future of mankind is at state, all due to ocean pollution. Planetaid.org presents the information that the ocean “provides over 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe and over 97 percent of the world’s water supply.” But everyday the ocean is the unfortunate recipient of manmade pollution. The world is essentially destroying itself. Because of the road us humans are going down now, there are going to be a plethora of environmental costs the world is going to try to fix when it becomes close to too late. There are a lot of things humans hold as significant to life. People say tangible objects such as technology and clothes are essential to living, but when we don’t have a planet to live on, we’re really going to be in deep water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates how much it will cost to clean the oceans. They state that “At a cost of $5,000-20,000 per day, it would cost between $122 million and $489 million for the year. That’s a lot of money—and that’s only for boat time. It doesn’t include equipment or labor costs.” But that’s just the cost of it today, who knows the estimated costs in the future if people continue to pollute the ocean. Ocean pollution is a direct causal problem to a destroyed economy, from seafood to beaches to future repairs. This is a serious detriment to the world’s finances, recreation, and most importantly, to our lives.
United Nations Environment Programme. (1970, January 01). Marine litter: Trash that kills. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from https://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/9691
Fox, B. (n.d.). Sustainable Seafood. Retrieved April 4, 2019, from https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/sustainable-seafood
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US Department of Commerce, & National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2008, October 08). How important is the ocean to our economy? Retrieved April 4, 2019, fromhttps://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/oceaneconomy.html
Parker, L. (2018, October 10). Beach clean-up study shows global scope of plastic pollution. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/greenpeace-beach-cleanup-report-highlights-ocean-plastic-problem/
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