With summer vacation at our fingertips, we start to plan our days around going to the beach as the perfect summer getaway. But with the photos of clear blue waters that we see on social media, it’s easy to forget the footprints we leave behind: trash.
Recently, a report from Filipino oceanographer Deo Florence Onda and American explorer Victor Vescovo states that there are locations of human debris along with the Emden Deep of the Philippine Trench, the third deepest spot in the world. At a depth of 10,045 meters, all sorts of trash were found, ranging from stuffed toys to an outfit of jeans and a shirt. This case of trash in the ocean is particularly alarming, and here’s why:
What it means for our environment in the long-run
We were all taught at a young age that we need to dispose of our personal trash properly, and it seems that a lot of humans have neglected that teaching. Polluting our ocean with our waste can lead to a lot of harmful effects, especially on our marine life. A lot of animals can mistake plastic for food, which can eventually lead to their deaths. Some of these plastics degrade into microplastics with exposure to sunlight. These microplastics are consumed by the fishes that end up on our plates, allowing our bodies to ingest these microplastics as well.
With that said, what makes trash at the bottom of the third deepest spot in the world any different? There is a misconception that throwing trash in the ocean is harmless as it degrades itself in the water anyway, but at the bottom of the ocean without any sunlight, trash will not degrade and instead will be preserved for many years to come. This means that our trash will remain at the deepest parts of the ocean without us even knowing it.
What we can do about it
The simplest way to avoid our trash landing in our oceans is really to dispose of our trash properly. Especially in the upcoming summer vacation, remember to have some decency to not leave your trash anywhere. May it be on your trip to the waterfalls or to the beach, remember to respect nature by not tainting it with any type of human debris. You can do this further by bringing reusable items such as reusable water bottles, reusable utensils, reusable tote bags, etc.
We have to remove the mentality that there are people that will pick up after our mess. Erasing this mentality is the first step in making sure that our trash doesn’t end up somewhere else. This is the only planet we have, so every one of us has to make a conscious effort to take care of it, whether it may be small or big. Nature provides us with everything we need to live, it’s our duty to make certain that we do the same.
Enano, J. (2021, April 05). Emden deep YIELDS dirty secret in Philippine Trench: Trash. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1414777/emden-deep-yields-dirty-secret-trash