With skyrocketing plastic production and low levels of recycling, our poor waste management
of plastic pollution is still one of the greatest concerns of our ocean health worldwide. Between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic fill the ocean each year. This amount of plastic can cover every foot of coastline on the planet! Unfortunately, that amount is expected to increase every year despite there have been so many international conferences to discuss the issue but still every country continues to use plastic. Plastic is just everywhere – in your car, house, place of work, shopping centers, and more. The question is, can we live without plastic?
In the ocean, plastic pollution impacts marine species like sea turtles, seabirds and habitats of fishes and coral reefs. Plastics never go away and after many years they simply break down into microplastics, whose environmental impacts are yet to be determined. Everyone can make an effort to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the ocean. In this post, we will go through seven ways everybody can make a difference.
1. Cut down on single-use plastics
You can avoid using single-use plastics including plastic bags for your groceries, bottles, cups, utensils, take-away containers, and any other plastic items that are used once and then discarded.
You can carry with you, reusable versions of those products. And when you refuse single-use plastic items, do communicate with businesses by letting them know that you would like them to offer alternatives. For instance, buy a convenient bag made from some solid fabric like jeans for example. Every time you go out you will just have to fold the jeans bag and carry it in your hand or pocket. This way you will not need to buy plastic bags to carry your groceries from the local store. If everyone starts thinking this way, we will at least be able to reduce the demand for plastic production.
2. Recycle properly
Actually, only 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide. This is an easy way to keep plastic usage low and out of the ocean while also reducing the amount of new plastic in circulation. If you need help finding a place to recycle plastic waste near you, check with your local recycling center about the types of plastic they accept or check Earth911’s recycling directory.
3. Beach cleanup
Participate or organize a cleanup of your local beach or waterway. You can help to remove plastics from the ocean by preventing them from getting there in the first place. This is one of the most direct and gratifying ways to fight ocean plastic pollution. Or you can simply go to the beach and collect plastic waste on your own or with friends and family. Alternatively, you can join a local organization’s cleanup or an international event like the International Coastal Cleanup.
4. Support bans
Many municipalities around the world have enacted bans on single-use plastic bags, takeaway containers, and bottles. You can support the adoption of such policies in your community. Here is a list of resources for legislative bodies considering limiting the use of plastic bags.
5. Avoid cosmetic products containing microbeads
Microbeads are tiny plastic particles found in some face scrubs, toothpaste, and body washes, and they enter our waterways and oceans through our sewer systems and affect hundreds of marine species. You can avoid using products containing plastic microbeads by looking at the ingredients label of your cosmetic products; they should not contain “polyethylene” and “polypropylene”. Find a list of products containing microbeads here. A tube of facewash can contain over 300,000 micro beads. This means billions of plastic microbeads are flowing into our waterways.
6. Spread the word
Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and spread the word to others. Tell your family and friends about how they can help to reduce plastic pollution, or invite people for some powerpoint presentation plus show them plastic pollution focused documentaries, like Addicted to Plastic or Garbage Island.
You can donate to many non-profit organizations working to eliminate ocean plastic pollution. For example, Oceanic Society, Algalita, Plastic Soup Foundation, and others. Many such organizations rely on donations to continue their work. Therefore, even small donations count to make a big difference!
These seven ideas are just a few ways how you can help address the growing problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. The important thing is that we all realize that it is high time to stop using plastic. We can indeed live without plastic as it is not of such a big necessity but only a facility.
Hope you have liked this post. Keep visiting my blog for more ideas and resources concerning our planet, and don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section below.