The proliferation of plastic products in the last several decades has been extraordinary. Humans are addicted to plastic, a nearly indestructible material. Imagine 822.000 times the Eiffel Tower? That’s the total amount of small plastic fragments floating at the surface of the ocean. The world population lives, works, goes on holiday and travels. People are increasingly conglomerating along the coasts, and sadly they stand on the front row of one of the biggest, most unprecedented, plastic waste tide ever faced. This is a wake-up call!
*Article initially published on Medium.com 02/10/2019
The world’s plastic problem is bigger than the ocean. But what about it?
Plastic Pollution: here’s a Snapshot
You live hundreds of kilometres from the coast and you think that it won’t end up in the ocean! Let’s STOP you right now… you’re wrong! The plastic you throw away could make its way into the sea. Plastic decomposes very slowly, it breaks down into micro plastics that can be incredibly damaging to sea life.
Did you know that 80% of plastic in our oceans is from land sources ? But what does that mean? Who is behind all that mess?
The facts are overwhelming
3 reasons why the plastic we use every day ends up in the oceans.
1. Using the bin when it could be recycled
When you go to the supermarket and you don’t buy in bulk, you consume plastic. And where does it end? It ends up in the landfill. When the rubbish is being transported to a landfill, the plastic is often blown away because of its weight. And then the catastrophe begins. It can hang in trees and plants, enter rivers and streams, fly till the sea and stay in the water.
Junk that’s dropped on the street doesn’t stay there. The rain and wind carry plastic waste where it shouldn’t belong: streams, rivers, and through drains. And we all know where drains lead to. The ocean! The illegal practices of waste dumping generate also plastic pollution and have an impact on the plastic surge in our seas.
3. Daily products
There are so many products we use daily. And a lot of them are flushed down the toilets or through the sink. From wet wipes, cotton buds and sanitary products to aluminium and leftover food. When we wash our clothes in the washing machine, microfibres are even released into waterways. Why? Because they are too small to be filtered out. Those microfibres end up being consumed by small marine species. And some of them might even end up in our food chain.
Plastic hurts marine animals who get entangled in larger pieces and mistake smaller pieces for food. This impacts the food chain. Humans eat plastic through the food chain.
Who is responsible?
WE ARE! Because how does plastic get into the ocean? Due to our daily consumption and acts. Luckily today, different alternatives to plastic exist. If you want to read more about the top 5 of alternatives to plastic packaging, click here.
Big changes start with small steps! What will you do to start cutting the plastic in your life?
“We all have the power to make a difference.”
What can you do?
2 important actions you can undertake!
Reduce plastic use
Look around you… if you have plastic on your desk, table or around you, you must act now! How many plastic things can you see? First yo should be more aware of how and why you use the plastics. Then change your habits by reducing your use of disposable and single-use plastic items. Recycle as much as possible.
“Think Reusable — Not Disposable” by pledging to refuse single-use plastics.
2. Join the wave — participate in a cleanup
Volunteer to pick up marine litter in your local community. The community works together with the common goal of collecting the trash littering.
Feeling ambitious? Recruit friends and family to join you in a larger cleanup. If we take action and work together, we can improve the ocean’s health and make trash free seas a reality.
“Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one”
Still not convinced… here’re some crazy facts
- The average “working life” of a plastic bag is approximately 15 minutes. Short, right?
- Every minute, more than 1.000.000 bags are used. Annually? 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.
- There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.
- More than 50% of sea turtles already consumed plastic
Do you need more facts…?
Are you okay with this?
It’s not just about us! Humans created the problem but it impacts all living creatures and the entire planet.
Collecting ocean rubbish and picking up trash while running or walking is noble. We must continue our individual and collective efforts, but these activities won’t solve the actual problem. To make serious headway with ocean pollution, a lot of countries will have to participate. We have to put a huge pressure on their governments. On a personal level there are several things we can do: committing to a zero-waste lifestyle, don’t use single-use disposable plastic, and further educating and raising public awareness of the severity of the issue. “The oceans are under threat now as never before in human history”, says David Attenborough. WE MUST ACT NOW!
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today“ — Abraham Lincoln
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