It is not a lesser-known fact anymore that approximately 4-12 million tons of plastic are found in the ocean every year which not only threatens our marine life by posing a risk of development of diseases but also lessens the quality of life in oceans and other water bodies. Recent data shows that a huge amount of plastic products and waste have been found in almost every ocean, including the Arctic Ocean. As a consequence of oceanic currents, huge quantities of plastic flows to the Arctic Ocean supporting the fact of how microplastics were discovered in approximately 90% of the ice samples collected from there. More than 700 kinds of marine animals have been found with traces of plastic in their digestive tracts. In the Barents Sea, it was discovered that approximately fifty percent of the fish had traces of microplastic in their digestive tracts irrespective of whether the surrounding countries contributed to marine pollution. A considerable amount of microplastic was found in cosmetics and toothpaste and has been found in the brains of fish which cause changes in behavior. A rise in the use of synthetic materials for replacing the glass and natural fibers for ropes has led to an increase in marine pollution. Since these materials are not easily degradable, they stay back in the environment. As they are buoyant, they remain floated and affect waterways and oceans. Humans on the other hand to are affected by plastic like the disruption of the thyroid hormone levels.
The three major forms of plastic that are contributors to plastic pollution are micro as well as mego and macro plastic. A study estimated approximately five trillion pieces of plastic on the surface of the sea. The litter on the ocean is toxic not only to marine biodiversity but also to humans. The toxins that are present in plastic are diethylhexyl phthalate, lead, cadmium, and mercury. A huge amount of fish, plankton, and human population ingest these toxic carcinogens through the food chain and fall victim to various diseases. For improving the quality and safety of marine life, steps can be taken by generating public awareness and involvement and by creating rigorous as well as strict rules and policies. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) for example has generated a rule that prohibits disposal of plastic waste anywhere near the sea. With respect to this, Governments all over the world should also study in detail the impact of plastic and how hazardous it is to the environment. In a situation where marine biologists predict that by 2050 the oceans will have more plastic than fish, we should take up the pledge of protecting the biodiversity and environment.