We've all had our hearts broken by videos of turtles with straws stuck up their noses or trapped in plastic bags. But ocean pollution has a big impact on human health, too, as this new infographic so well — and terrifyingly — demonstrates.
To start, did you know that 70 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants?
The ocean isn't just the source of 97 percent of the Earth's water; it helps keep us breathing, too.
But we as humans don't take good care of it. At all. Pollution from plastic, waste and toxic chemicals like asbestos and lead has created more than 405 "dead zones" in the ocean, areas that are almost completely devoid of life because of pollution.
Animal waste, fertilizers and pesticides all make their way into the ocean, too.
If you're an Azula reader, you're probably already familiar with microplastics, broken-down plastic that in some parts of the ocean outweighs plankton by six times.
It's clear that pollution kills life in the ocean.
Plastics and chemicals get into the fish we eat, too, bringing our human mistakes right onto our plates.
Chemicals, such as pesticides and lead, can lead to reproductive problems and nervous system damage. Mercury exposure has been linked to neurological disease and heart disease.
Even if you're not eating fish, just being at the beach around polluted water can cause stomach pain and rashes.
A problem this huge can feel out of our control, but the creator of the infographic, a scuba diver, has a few tips on how everyone can help, particularly disposing of cleaning products, batteries, paint and other materials properly; eating sustainably; and reducing your use of plastic.
He was inspired to get involved after going on a scuba dive in Thailand and — instead of sea life — finding nothing but plastic, like the diver in the clip below.
Yep. Very depressing.
But learning helps, so check out the rest of the infographic here — and get reducing, reusing and recycling ASAP.
How ocean pollution affects humans – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in