Impact of Plastic Pollution in our Oceans

turtle-caught-in-plastic-ring

The lack of information in the past meant that some individuals failed to realise the enormous damage that is done when littering our seas. Thankfully, through research and the dissemination of information, a lot of people now know of the dangers that ocean littering poses to ourselves as well as thousands of sea creatures.

80 percent of marine litter originates on land, and most of that is plastic. Plastic that pollutes our oceans and waterways has severe impacts on our environmentand our economy.

Seabirds, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life are eating marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage and starvation.

Plastic pollution affects every waterway, sea and ocean in the world. When we damage our water systems, we're putting our own well-being at risk. This pollution also has huge costs for taxpayers and local governments that must clean this trash off of beaches and streets to protect public health, prevent flooding from trash-blocked storm drains, and avoid lost tourism revenue from filthy beaches.

The most effective way to stop plastic pollution in our oceans is to make sure it never reaches the water in the first place.

·     Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one litre bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.

·      It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.

·     44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

·      Today, there is an island of garbage, twice the size of Texas, in the Pacific Ocean

 

Is plastic necessary when at the beach?

o    If you're planning a day at the beach, choose to reuse when it comes to plastic bags and plastic beverage containers. Even better, why dont you use cloth bags and reusable glass bottles?

o    We love a nice packed lunch by the seaside. Reducing sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box would help decrease plastic use!

o    Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on. When at the beach, do you really need plastic cups? When BBQing, why dont you use reusable glass plates and cutlery rather than the plastic ones? Refuse single-serving packaging, straws and other disposable plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your backpack or car to use at BBQs.

o    Clean up your beach. The beach litter you see may not be yours but it would be great if you can put it in a bin.

o    Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to use plastic that is easily recyclable.  Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.

o  Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and to keep our sea clean.

 

Finally, if you're disposing of plastic garbage (or any kind of garbage for that matter) just dont throw it in our seas or leave it on the beach! Gozo's beaches are equipped with bins, make use of them.

plastic-pollution-beach

 

adapted from http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/plastic-ocean/

07/08/2014