Be an Ocean Guardian from the inland

Did you know that according to some scientists in a couple decades there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean? While the results wash up on the shores of distant countries, it comes from every one of us in the world. 

It’s heartbreaking to see photos like this from all over the world:

freedom-island.jpg Volunteers are called in to deal with the huge volumes of rubbish along the coastline of Freedom Island in Paranaque City, suburban Manila (Getty)
Plastic packaging and fishing gear are among the top items that find their way into the ocean (Getty Images: Sablin)

“The plastic waste in the oceans is disastrous for marine and bird life, and the human race has to avoid disposal of this waste in a way that enables it to enter drains, rivers, and eventually the ocean” (Professor Holmes,

About 90 per cent of seabirds eat plastic. (Supplied: Britta Denise Hardesty)
Entangled seal by derelict net
Entangled seal by derelict net, Hawaii. Photo Source: NOAA

The video of this turtle who had a plastic straw in his nose shows the very real effect on sea and shore creatures – honestly, who would want to live like this?

Oceans suffer of plastic waste. We don’t recycle and reuse enough, plastics are made and thrown away after one use. Since there is no charge on the end-user (us) for depositing, disposing, it keeps the production of plastics falsely cheap.

“We weren’t aware of the implications for plastic ending up in our environment until it was already there” (Jenna Jambeck, National Geographic)

Plastic takes 50 to 600 (yes, six hundred) years to decompose, so reuse and recycle are always preferable, albeit technically not always easy options.

“The ultimate symbol of our throwaway lifestyle is the plastic bag: 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags is the number consumed annually, which is about a million a minute. The production of plastic bags creates enough solid waste per year to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times. The petroleum used to make only 14 plastic bags could drive a car 1 mile.” (

According to the Center for Marine Conservation the “dirty dozen”- the twelve items found most frequently – are:

1) cigarette butts
2) paper pieces
3) plastic pieces
4) styrofoam
5) glass pieces
6) plastic food bags
7) plastic caps and lids
8) metal beverage cans
9) plastic straws
10) glass beverage bottles
11) plastic beverage bottles (a more recent study quotes a million bottles a minute)
12) styrofoam cups

Of course there are other types of plastic waste from fishing and industry which cannot be neglected. But if what you can do today is to stop using plastic bottles, plastic bags and disposable coffee cups, you’ve already done a lot.

“The long-term solution globally is to design, use and dispose of these items properly. If people educate and practise recycling and disposing of plastic items, and more is done to replace plastics with materials that are far easier to decompose, then our oceans, beaches, marine life and humans will be an awful lot healthier.” (

Join the pledge of Global Citizen to make this happen and influence decision makers to treat this with urgency and let’s work together for a better world.

Action plan:

What will you do this week for the planet?


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2 thoughts on “Be an Ocean Guardian from the inland

  1. Though I’d never call myself a hard-core environmentalist, I’ve never been a litterer, and can’t understand why there are people who love nature enough to take a walk in the woods and yet care little enough that they leave their bottles, cans, dirty diapers, and all manner of garbage there. My husband and I have always been the type to use cloth towels over paper ones, to rarely use paper napkins, etc. We’re not militant about it but we recognize that every little bit helps. Our community is great about having a good recycling program, too, so it makes it easy to help. I don’t like drinking out of plastic as a general rule, so I have a glass water bottle and a metal travel coffee cup I love.

    Little by little!

    Liked by 1 person

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