Today is World Oceans Day 2018! The focus this year is to prevent further plastic pollution and encourage solutions. The ocean connects us all. Some of us swim and sail the vast seas of the world while others enjoy its tranquillity from the sands of the beaches we’re lucky enough to visit. Others, however, are being poisoned by it. Every day.
Fish. Whales. Coral reefs. This pollution eventually makes its way back to us. There is no one to blame for the plastic pollution but humans, and it’s sad to see the effects it has on some of the world’s magnificent creatures. About 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean, every year. That’s the equivalent weight of 1 billion elephants.
If plastic isn’t swallowed by marine life and the birds of the coasts then the particles break down and become toxic. You may have seen the Blue Planet 2 episode in which the albatross colony were struggling. Albatross parents were carrying plastic back from their food searches which ended up in the stomachs of their chicks. One chick even died after a plastic toothpick pierced its stomach.
We also learned from the programme that plastic can contaminate a dolphin’s milk which can then kill their calves. The effects of plastic pollution are truly devastating, but we can help!
It seems obvious, and you might already do so but there is plenty of plastic that ends up in the bin instead of recycling. Plastic bottles are heavily recycled, which is brilliant, but things like plastic bags, plastic films (found on microwaveable meals), plastic toothbrushes, and yoghurt pots are not. Even kids toys, car parts and bits of furniture end up in the ocean, all of which can be recycled or have uses for other people.
Stop using one use plastics
Trade your one use plastic bottle for a reusable water bottle. Swap your plastic straws for metal, bamboo or paper (they look prettier, too!) straws. Stop buying plastic toothbrushes and try a 100% bamboo toothbrush instead, which are completely biodegradable. Invest in a reusable coffee cup, some coffee shops even offer a discount if you opt for using your cup instead of theirs!
Cut it out
If there’s plastic in your life and you can cut it out, then please do. Instead of buying fruit and vegetables already prepacked in plastic why not buy them loose. You will need to buy a reusable produce bag, but what’s a few pence when you’re helping the ocean and its inhabitants? Instead of using plastic bags think about the pros and cons of tote bags instead. Visit charity shops and online second-hand websites if you’re looking for kids’ toys as they come with a lot of plastic waste when bought brand new. You’ll be helping charity, too!
Pick up what you see
You might be taking your dog for a stroll on the beach and come across some horrible plastic. Instead of just walking by, pick it up and recycle. Every little helps.
If we all do our bit and insist companies do theirs, together we can tackle plastic pollution. In Hawai’i, they believe in a value called Mālama, which means to serve, protect and take care of what’s yours. The ocean is everyone’s, wherever we are. It’s our duty to take care of it and its inhabitants. If we don’t, who will?
We believe in safeguarding our oceans and recently made a donation of £25,000 to Whale and Dolphin Conservation. If you want to keep up to date with our charity donations, events and blogs like our Facebook page and like us on Twitter. Let us know how you’re cutting out plastic!