Plastic in the ocean – What you can do to help

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a problem that impacts countries the world around. On nearly any beach you’ll find waste plastic. Bottles, caps, plastic bags and tiny little bits of microplastic that has broken down so much that it can no longer be identified as to its source litter the beaches of the world. And it’s not bio-degradable so unless we do something about it, it’s never going to go away. Of an estimated 275 million tonnes of plastic rubbish that gets tossed each year, somewhere between 4.5 to 12.5 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up accidentally washed out to sea or is tossed their on purpose. As it breaks down into smaller pieces, the plastic gets eaten by wildlife who are unable to digest it and slowly starve to death as their stomachs fill with the deadly plastic bits.

beach-plastic-waste

Once in the ocean the plastic either ends up in one of the 5 great Ocean gyres, where they form vast rubbish patches on along the coasts of the world. It’s a huge problem that needs to be addressed at multiple levels but there are some things individual people can do to help.

  1. Support politicians at every level who back green initiatives and responsible recycling programs. Let your representative know how you feel on this issue and that you want them to ensure that plastic rubbish never reaches the rivers and oceans in the first place.
  2. Avoid body products that contain microbeads, these are a common problem that can contaminate freshwater and marine wildlife. These plastic microbeads are too small to be filtered by sewage treatment plants and often end up in the sea. These microbeads have been labelled tiny plastic timebombs.
  3. Recycle and reuse plastics where possible. If disposing of waste then ensure you hire a waste disposal company registered with the environmental agency that can confirm your waste will be disposed of in a green manner.
  4. Organize a yearly beach clean-up day in your local community. Get the community involved in clearing the beaches after the winter and spring storms have past and the level of plastic rubbish is at its highest. Bring a sack with you and clean up what you can each time you go to the beach. Every bit helps and if everyone who went to the beach did their part it would help out tremendously.
  5. Petition your local council to ban plastic bags in your community. Recyclable paper or cloth sacks are far friendlier to the environment and banning plastic bags means fewer end up in the sea to be swallowed by dolphins and whales.

    Pollution in the seabed because of humans

    Pollution in the seabed because of humans

The amount of plastic in the sea is staggering. But even as countries move to address the issue, it’s important to remember that the actions of individuals to clean up the worlds beaches can have a positive impact as well.

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