Ocean water covers over 70 percent of the Earth, and only in recent decades have we begun to understand how we impact this watery habitat.
Ocean pollution is a grave problem of the modern era, and in case we do not make a change and reverse the process, we will face terrible consequences.
According to conservationists, the waste count is in the trillions, amounting to over 260,000 tons of plastic waste alone roaming wild in the oceans.
Plastic pollution seeps into the ocean through run-off and even purposeful dumping. Plastics and paint pollute the waters, but they also harm ocean life that swallows or gets caught in them.
Tonnes of garbage end up in the oceans, and marine life suffers a lot. We have all heard stories like the ones about whales washed on shores with plastic in their stomachs.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the waters of Northern Pacific reflects the human apathy towards the ocean.
All the non-biodegradable products we use daily have drastically harmed the environment. A huge culprit is single-use plastics, used once before tossed into the trash or directly into the ocean. These single-use items are accidentally consumed by numerous marine mammals.
Yet, many actually care for the oceans and even the smallest creatures that live in them.
A feel-good video that surfaced shows scuba divers in Lembeh, Indonesia, trying to convince a baby veined octopus to switch “homes”—from a transparent plastic cup to a couple of seashells.
Pall Sigurdsson & other divers found a baby octopus in a plastic cup
One of the divers, Pall Sigurdsson, is an engineer and diving enthusiast from Iceland. He loves filming animals that he finds during his underwater adventures.
“This was our third dive that day, and we were all starting to get a little bit tired. My dive buddy sent me a hand signal indicating that he had found an octopus and asked me to come over for help.”
Divers were so dedicated to helping the octopus that they almost ran out of air
“I am no stranger to seeing octopi making homes out of trash. They are clever animals and use their environment to their advantage, and trash is a permanent part of their environment now. However the octopus with its soft tentacles did not know that this cup offers virtually no protection, and in a competitive environment like the ocean, this cup was a guaranteed death sentence.”
The team was so dedicated to helping the little octopus that they spent the entire dive and much of the oxygen to save it. They eventually persuaded their new-found friend to give up the plastic cup.
They offered many shells and the veined octopus finally chose one
Octopuses of many species are known for their intelligence. In captivity, they have been discovered to navigate mazes, seem to be able to remember past events, and are cunning escape artists.
Veined octopi are born with the instinct to protect themselves by scavenging for coconut or clamshells to make a mobile home from. This is the reason why they are also known as coconut octopi.
They would dig up the two halves of a coconut shell, and then use them as protective shielding when stopping in exposed areas or when resting in sediment.
After using the coconut shells, the octopi arrange them neatly below the centers of their bodies and “walk” around with the shells.
When they cannot find a natural material, they go for whatever they found on the ocean bed, including empty plastic cups or containers.
Unfortunately, in these cases, the octopus is left vulnerable to predators due to the transparent plastic. Moreover, the plastic would harm predators as well, since they would eat the octopus together with it.
This would cause the death of the predator, or it will weaken it to a degree where a bigger predator may swoop in for an easy kill, continuing the dreadful plastic pollution cycle.
When asked if he sees a lot of trash while diving, Sigurdsson answered:
“There are good days, and there are bad days depending on ocean currents. Some days, you see so much trash that it is almost impossible to film sea creatures without also including trash.”
“I try as hard as I can to make people see the ocean when it looks its best. Once I saw a family of anemone fish living next to a corroded battery. That was heartbreaking.”
The adorable octopus forgot his other half of the shell
Plastic is the main pollutant in the oceans, so we can all do our part and make them a better place to live for everyone.
“Most trash (including plastic) sinks. Most people only talk about the parts that they can see. The part that floats, but that’s just scratching the surface of the problem. Plastic straws are a minuscule part of the problem.”
This is the full video of Sigurdsson and his team, persuading the octopus to switch his home