By 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish
July is No Plastics Month, Retirementor, Jeunesse Park reminds us.
Let’s consider why:
- The manufacture and destruction of plastic pollutes air and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals, including carcinogens.
- Synthetic plasticdoes not biodegrade but accumulates in landfills and the sea, polluting the
- Half of the plastic made we use just once and throw out.
- Around 4% of world oil production is used to make plastics, and a similar amount is consumed as energy in the process.
- 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.
- Almost half of marine mamals have plastic in their gut.
- Even your sea salt is almost certainly contaminated with plastic.
- More than the over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter oceans. The Arctic is clogged with billions of plastic pieces, being now called the dead end for floating plastic.
- There is currently enough plastic to circle the globe four times.
- And what about nappies and wet wipes? The Thames recently recorded the highest concentration of wet wipes ever, 277 found in 1sq metre!
There are alternatives to plastics and increasing research is focussing on it’s manufacture from renewable resources such as hemp, seaweed and other fast growing plants high in cellulose.
A great new innovation is a pool noodle look alike to clean oceans embarking on “the largest clean up in history” – https://www.theoceancleanup.com/
What can WE do?
- Be aware of how much plastic you use and buy. Seek out items not made of plastic.
- Stop using bottled water; often, it’s no safer than tap water and costs 3 times as much oil and 1 000 times more than tap water
- Buy products rather packaged in glass and cardboard
- Take reusable bags for grocery shopping
- Use refillable dispensers for soaps and cleaning materials
- Use reusable containers not sandwich bags and plastic wrap
- Take your own mug to the coffee shop
- Don’t use straws, one of the top 10 items found on beaches
- Look for bamboo tooth brushes
- Wear clothing made from natural (not synthetic) materials. Polyester clothing is made of plastic and microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced to such synthetic fabrics
- Avoid disposable tableware, or use the compostable kind
- Don’t just discard electronics. Try to repair, sell or recycle them instead
- Bring your own container for takeout and leftovers.
- Use cloth nappies and wash cloths instead of wet wipes
- Use matches instead of lighters
- Upcycle finding new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones
- Join the Avaaz call to the UN – Click to save our oceans!
- Become an #OceanHero with Sky News’ https://skyoceanrescue.com/ and look at reports like this one – https://youtu.be/D35YnZ7_WxM
If you have any bright ideas, enter the $2million New Plastics Innovation Prize which encourages the world’s brightest minds to devise ideas to end marine litter – https://newplasticseconomy.org/innovation-prize
To learn more watch Addicted to Plastic, a feature-length documentary about solutions to plastic pollution. http://www.sprword.com/videos/addictedtoplastic/