Marine debris can be extremely harmful towards all of marine life. Four types of marine debris include: Monofilament, plastic rings, plastic pellets, and plastic bags.
Improperly discarded monofilament fishing line can entangle coral, seabirds, marine mammals, and even humans. This can cause mutilation or even death.
Plastic rings can get stuck around the neck or body of animals who are curious when young, but can cut into the organism's skin as it grows older. It can also lead to deformations or even death.
Plastic pellets are small, round pieces of plastic that are melted down to create plastic products. They are often spilled into the ocean, and birds mistake them for eggs and bring them back to their young, killing their babies unintentionally. The birds will feel full but will die of malnutrition and starvation.
Plastic bags are harmful because they are often mistaken for jellyfish, sea turtles' favorite food. Other animals such as dolphins, whales, and sharks also ingest plastic bags thinking they're jellyfish. The animals can die of asphyxiation or starvation as a result.
We can help prevent these problems by recycling plastic more, cutting up plastic rings before throwing them away, dispose monofilament in the correct way, and by keeping plastic pellets in more secure holdings.
- Victoria Mehlhaff -