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Expert diver makes frustrating discovery while cleaning up ocean trash: 'Floating around for a long time'

"It's important to remove trash out of the ocean."

"It's important to remove trash out of the ocean."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Plastic pollution is a big problem for marine life. One diver and ocean tour guide based in Hawaiʻi recently filmed a video of their crew pulling seemingly endless amounts of trash out of the water.

"This week we found a lot of old plastic that has been in the ocean floating around for a long time," Kayleigh (@mermaid.kayleigh) said. "It's important to remove trash out of the ocean as animals could become entangled in this debris, or, as it breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic, they may even ingest it."

@mermaid.kayleigh Happy mother's day to all the mommas out there! Let's remember to take care & show love to the mother of us all, the earth. Our planet naturally nurtures us & provides what we need to survive. Sadly, mankind can disrupt earth's delicate balance which affects all inhabitants. Please show love to our planet & do something today to better this beautiful world by picking up trash or making more sustainable choices for example. @KaimanaOceanSafari 🗑️🌊♻️ #ocean #marinedebris #singleuseplastic #pickuptrash #cleanuptheocean #oceancleanup ♬ Pieces of Memory - Carlos Carty

Kayleigh and Co. also found a tiny crab "hitchhiker" hanging out on one of the pieces of plastic they pulled out of the ocean. They transferred it into a piece of pineapple and returned it to the water.

As Kayleigh pointed out, ocean plastic poses many dangers to marine life. Marine animals can become trapped inside pieces of waste, often resulting in their deaths. They can also eat pieces of plastic that they mistake for food, blocking their digestive systems. 

As plastic breaks down over time into smaller and smaller pieces, it becomes microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic that are accumulating in our oceans at nearly incomprehensible levels. These microplastics then interact with the changing ocean water chemistry caused by the overheating of our planet to create new and unforeseen problems for marine species.

Though it is impossible to accurately count, a rough estimate places the number of pieces of plastic trash in our ocean at around 170 trillion.

In order to prevent this problem from getting even worse, it is important that we avoid single-use plastics whenever possible. In our own lives, we can take steps such as getting a reusable water bottle and switching away from coffee pods

Kayleigh's TikTok followers were happy to see the group doing their part to keep ocean life safe and protected.

"Thank you so much for doing this!" one commenter wrote.

"Thank you for caring for our ocean," another said.

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