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:
“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, abc.net.au)
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.” (plastic-pollution.org)
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
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.” (independent.co.uk)
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.
- No more plastic bags – buy one you can fold in itself and keep it even in the smallest purse
- Get your own coffee cup if you regularly drink it – it’s also cuter like this beast or a collapsable one that’s also easy to stash when not in use
- Get a sodastream machine instead of buying mineral water in plastic bottles
- Buy bulk as much as possible – there even are small shops that sell everything without packaging
- Don’t use straws – ever
What will you do this week for the planet?