We are living at the beginning of mass extinction. Our oceans are breaking down. Children like me are giving up their education to protest. But we can still fix this. We need to stop the use of single-use plastics but this alone will not be enough. Lots of solutions are right in front of us as eighty percent of marine pollution comes from land. A wide range of pollution—from plastic pollution to light pollution—affects marine ecosystems.

The oceans make up 71% of our planet. They help us in many ways such as producing half our world’s oxygen, moderating the temperature, providing some of the food we eat, transportation, and recreation activities. The oceans, however, are harmed more and more every day, due to the spread of our carbon footprint. The oceans are being polluted, ecosystems are dying, species are being overexploited, and there has been a rise in ocean acidification. There are ways to fix these problems if we all work together to reduce our carbon footprint.

Many marine species are going extinct due to overexploitation of them. People tend to overfish so they can make more money by selling them, however, they don’t think about the consequences that would have on the species. People are killing many of these animals faster than they can reproduce themselves. If this keeps happening those animals are going to go extinct and the other animals that depend on those species to stay alive will die as well. Some people are also killing big animals by selling them for their skin. This overexploitation of these animals will cause a major decline in many marine animal species that we love. This kills the biodiversity in the oceans.

The oceans are also rising in acidity due to the dangerously high amounts of carbon dioxide in the water. One of the main causes of this is burning fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. This is one of the key reasons for global warming as well. Another cause of ocean acidification is deforestation since the trees produce a lot of oxygen and absorb the carbon dioxide while doing so. Emissions from vehicles also cause this rise in carbon dioxide levels. We could help prevent the use of fossil fuels by buying more locally fresh produced food instead of processed, and switching to more renewable energy, such as installing solar panels on your house to prevent factory work. We could also help this problem by planting more trees instead of killing them and by limiting the use of vehicles. If we begin taking these steps we could help lower the rise of carbon dioxide in the oceans.

Our oceans are in danger and we need to take these steps now to help them. Oceans provide us many services for free, the least we could do is to help preserve them. We can prevent the buildup of solid waste in the oceans by using the three r’s, reuse, reduce, recycle, and by installing septic tanks in your homes. We can prevent over-exploitation of species by switching to more vegetarian options, lower the rate of fishing, and lower the use of killing marine life for their skins. We can prevent ocean acidification by lowering the use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and reducing the use of vehicles. If we all work together as a community taking all these actions, we can save the oceans and help save our planet.

Many pollutants still persist in the environment, difficult to fully remove. Chemical pollutants often cannot be broken down for long periods of time, or they increase in concentration as they move up the food web. Because plastic is thought to take hundreds of years to break down, it poses a threat to the marine environment for centuries.

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