FAQs about Oceans

8. How do plastics affect the oceans?

Plastic is the most versatile, common, and economical of the inventions made. But just as its use has been varied and massive, the pollution it has caused and continues to cause is also varied and massive. In the 1950s, an average of about 15 million tons of plastic was used annually. Currently around 300 million tons are produced. In 60 years, we have multiplied by 20 the consumption of the material. Only about 10% is recycled and reused correctly. The rest ends up in landfills, the most worrying being the pollution of rivers, seas, and oceans, which greatly harms aquatic fauna, as well as seabirds.

Less than 10% of the plastic produced in the world is recycled. 12% is incinerated and about 80% ends up in landfills or in the environment, according to data from Greenpeace. From landfills or other places where plastic material has been abandoned, it can reach the sea due to storms, winds, or rain. The most serious thing is that in many places humans dump their waste trucks directly into the rivers, whose destination, no matter how far away the coasts are, will be the sea.

Because the process of plastic degradation is very slow, in addition to spreading very quickly, plastics can be found practically all over the planet, from north to south and from east to west. So, cleaning up the oceans is getting more and more difficult. Plastic objects can be ingested by marine fauna in all aquatic regions, causing the death of fish, mollusks and other species, including birds that fish for their prey in the seas. Plastics have been found even in areas more than 10,000 meters deep.

Some countries have banned the use of plastic bags, straws, cups, and other objects made of this material to prevent them from reaching ocean waters.

Other Secctions of the Oceans


Revitalization: collective action for the ocean. World Oceans Day 2022

On June 8 we celebrate World Oceans Day 2022, this year framed in the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences and within which the Conference of the Oceans. The theme of 2022 Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean wants this year to emphasize the greatness of the ocean as a source of life for all human beings and for all other organisms that inhabit the Earth.

The purpose of World Oceans Day is to inform about the impact of humans on the ocean, to develop a global movement of citizens for the ocean, and to mobilize and unite the world’s population in a project for the sustainable management of the oceans.

Our planet Earth is also known as the blue planet because more than 70% of its surface is covered by the waters of oceans and seas, which gives it its distinctive color. These huge bodies of water are essential for life as they provide us with food, as well as being important regulators of climate change and generators of most of the oxygen we breathe.

World Oceans Day was proposed during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992, although it was only implemented in 2008. Since then, World Oceans Day is celebrated on June 8 of each year, by resolution of the General Assembly of the UN. Its objective is to raise awareness about the importance of the oceans and how to preserve them. This year the UN has chosen two reasons to celebrate World Oceans Day.

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