Our oceans make up 72% of the world. Oceans provide many of the world’s resources for humans.

However, over the last few decades, the increase in trash on coastal beaches across the world has become unhealthy and unpleasant for beach-goers and the life expectancy of marine organisms. Over 80 percent of things humans do on land cause marine pollution to happen.

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Garbage items like these that wash up on the shores of beaches are harmful to the marine life that live there.


Hand in hand, we can save our tidepools and oceans by picking up any trash we see on the beach!

Photo credit: Lucia Fasano

Humans are treating the ocean as an extra landfill, dumping garbage and dangerous chemicals carelessly. With increased levels of pollution, humans will neglect caring for the ocean and only continue to use the ocean for it’s valuable resources. No matter where one lives, one still contributes to the health of the oceans around them.

Chemicals like Carbon dioxide and other emissions are released in the atmosphere because of daily commutes with gasoline automobiles and shipping products for stores we shop at every day. In addition, water quality of has become polluted and effects humans when they consume ocean products such as fish and shell fish from polluted water. Mercury for example has long term health effects that could cause death.


Eating seafood products like crab, clams and fish can sometimes lead to mercury poisoning and sometimes, death.


Fishing boats irresponsibly leave tangled nets in the ocean where marine mammals, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, and large fish become trapped and die. Also, some methods of fishing are not selective and trap other endangered sea life in their nets such as dolphins. It is an unnecessary waste of life to have those intelligent animals die from irresponsible fishing.


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Sea birds like sea gulls and pelicans are prone to eating a lot of garbage. Up to 44 percent of all seabirds mistake plastic trash such as trash bags, 6 pack soda plastic, and fishing line for actual food. Plastic is one of the most common causes of most marine animal deaths.

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Another way humans have destroyed marine ecosystems are by over fishing. Over fishing has wiped out populations of fish that were once abundant. This leads to higher prices for fish because they have become more scarce.

Above: An example of what the oceans will look like in the future if overfishing is not controlled or regulated.


Above: Fishing boats like these contribute to over fishing. Below: Unnecessary harvesting of trophy fish for display.


One of the most major pollutants in recent times has been from the oil spills. It will take many years for the oceans to recover from a large oil spill, some of the damage is permanent. The cleanup costs millions of dollars and effects everyone in someway from paying more for oil products to smaller supplies of pollutantfree fish products.


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Above: Burning of BP oil spill oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Left: Oil/Petroleum pipes left to rust on the beach. Below: Oil from BP floating in the ocean.

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Oceans not only supply humans with a food source, petroleum products, and contribute to a cleaner environment, but health advancements as well. The unexplored depths of ocean could possibly be hiding the cure for cancer or diabetes. Marine biotechnology is a new and thriving area of research for human health advancement.


Above: Jellyfish DNA could create insulin for people with diabetes. Below and Left: These are the way our beaches should look like!


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Above and Left: Volunteers use large trash bags to pick up litter they see on the beach. Join these volunteers and pick up trash!

By not polluting the earth in general and keeping beaches trash free, the ocean can remain a fun and beautiful place to spend time at. The healthier the environment is, the healthier humans will be because we are dependent on the ocean for weather, food and health.

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1. Never be afraid to pick up extra trash you see on the beach. 2. Dispose of chemicals like oil and cleaning agents properly, everything that ends up down a storm drain makes it’s way to the ocean. 4. Cut apart the plastic that six pack of sodas come with, sea turtles often mistake them for jellyfish and can choke themselves on it. 5. Reduce, reuse, and recycle what you can so you can make sure it doesn’t end up in the ocean. 6.Participate with your family in coastal clean up days held the 3rd Saturday of every month at your local beach on the west coast!

1. Berry, Carolyn. “Plastic Breaks Down in Ocean, After All -- And Fast.” National Geographic. N.p., 20 Aug. 2009. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/2009/08/090820-plastic-decomposes-oceans-seas.html>. 2. “MarineBio.org - Marine Biology, Ocean Life Conservation, Sea creatures, Biodiversity, Oceans research...”. MarineBio.org. 20 January 2011 <http://marinebio.org/>. 3. “Monterey Bay Aquarium, California”. Monterey Bay Aquarium 20 January 2011 <http://www.montereybayaquarium.org//>. 4.“Ocean Pollution.” Ocean Pollution. Greenpeace USA, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/ 5. “Problems: Ocean Pollution.” WWF - Problems: Ocean Pollution. WWF, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. <http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_ earth/blue_planet/problems/pollution/>. 6 . “Water Pollution.” Thankyouocean.org. Thank You Ocean, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <http://www.thankyouocean.org/threats/water-pollution/>.


Flickr Sources:

1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/5444678656/ 2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/85056813@N00/5019029922/ sizes/o/in/photostream/ 3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/48722974@N07/4523305415/ 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3934721877/ 5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3935513830/ 6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3935508202/ 7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/caveman_92223/3223981302/in/ photostream/ 8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/caveman_92223/3223981234/ 9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/deepwaterhorizonresponse/4690956186/ 10. http://www.flickr.com/photos/deepwaterhorizonresponse/4699587507/ 11.http://www.flickr.com/photos/glass_window/186138455/

Other Photo Credit: Lucia Fasano All other photographs were taken by the author. 18