Each year, eight million metric tonnes of waste finds its way into our oceans. This is the equivalent of 16 plastic bags (filled with plastic) for every metre of coastline around the world, excluding Antarctica.
Given these figures, it’s not surprising that marine waste is becoming a global concern.
What is Marine Waste?
Marine waste is any harmful debris that’s washed or blown from land into the sea, or abandoned recreational and commercial fishing gear. Non-biodegradable floating materials, especially plastic that’s disposed of by ships at sea, is also a big contributor to our marine waste problem.
This waste that includes everything from cigarette butts to plastic water bottles, has a big impact on the health and well-being of marine life, as well as a detrimental impact on our planet.
The Impact of Waste on Marine Life
Marine debris poses a number of threats to all marine life, especially when animals either ingest it or become entangled.
For instance, entanglement in marine waste can cause restricted mobility, starvation, infection and even drowning. Many people are surprised to hear that marine species often drown as a result of rubbish in the ocean, but even though they frequent the water, they still need to come up for air.
Some common types of waste that cause entanglement, include:
- Fishing lines
- Fragments of trawl netting
- Plastic packing straps
- And much more!
Another reason entanglement is so problematic is because land dwelling animals, like seabirds, who get caught in marine waste have trouble moving, which can lead to starvation as they’re not quick enough to catch their prey.
Plastic bags, rubber balloons and confectionary wrappers are easily mistaken for prey when they end up in the ocean or scattered across beaches. For instance, turtles often think plastic bags are jellyfish and when they ingest the bag it causes a physical blockage in the digestive system, which can lead to painful injuries and even death. The same issues arise when seabirds ingest polystyrene balls and plastic buoys because they think they’re fish eggs and crustaceans.
There are a number of endangered and vulnerable species that are adversely affected by the prevalence of marine waste in Australia and across the globe. Some of these include:
- Loggerhead Turtles
- Southern Right Wales
- Blue Whales
- Green Turtles
- A number of Albatross birds, including Northern Royal Albatross’ and Wandering Albatross’
- And much more!
What’s Bulk Waste Collection Doing to Help?
From providing residential and commercial skip bin hire in Perth, to practising safe recycling methods, our waste management processes help ensure our client’s rubbish ends up in the right place and not in the ocean or our waterways.
To learn more about our skip bin hire and responsible waste management practices in Perth, contact Bulk Waste Collection today!