Ever since I was little I have had a huge passion for the environment, and have always tried to take action to help preserve it. I grew up on the beach, so environmental issues that impact the ocean have always been what I am most concerned about, in particular ocean pollution.
Plastic is a cheap and versatile product making it an extremely popular material. However, plastic is not biodegradable, so once it is made it stays on the earth forever. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists today. Therefore, once plastic finds its ways to the ocean it remains there for a very long time, meaning that one piece of plastic can destroy numerous marine animals.
Over 1 million sea birds and 100,000 other marine animals are killed by plastic each year. But marine life isn't the only thing destroyed. Plastic can be so small that you cant even see its contamination in our oceans, making very easy for marine animals to consume. The animals who consume this, are the same animals that end up on our plates, and then in our bodies. Plastic contamination in our bodies is linked to many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, brain cancer, breast cancer and mental disorders.
It is believed that at this moment, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. 8 millions tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year. 15000 piece each day. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean there is an area where plastic gathers due to the moving currents. This area is referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and is now around the same size as Texas. It is predicted that by 2050, there will be a larger weight of plastic in the ocean than all the fish in the sea.
Being at the beach almost every day lets me experience first had the extent of these issues. A stormy southerly at Bondi can turn the beach from a clean haven to a rubbish dump in just a few hours. The thing that annoys me the most about it, is that it is our fault. The wind doesn't magically bring in rubbish out of nowhere, we put it there. Our dirty beaches is the result of our bad habits. The result of individuals who cannot be bothered to walk a few steps and put their rubbish in the bin, and the result of not re-using plastic drink bottles or plastic bags.
All of these bad habits that are helping destroy our oceans are so easy to change, and therefore all the rubbish that ends up in the ocean is so easily avoidable. Here are some really easy changes you can make in your daily life to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our ocean.
- Refuse the use of as much plastic as you can. For example, brining a reusable coffee cup to your local cafe, asking for no straw in your drinks and asking for paper bags instead of plastic containers for take away food.
- Re-use as much plastic items as you can. This includes, reusing plastic bottles and takeaway containers, and disposable shopping bags which can be reused as garbage bags or doggie bags.
- Bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping. If you forget, ask the cashier to pile as much food into one bag as they can to reduce the amount of plastic bags you use in one trip.
- Use tupperware instead of cling wrap, and if you can find it, use glass or metal containers instead of plastic.
- Put your rubbish in the bin! Don't leave it lying around on the grass or beach
- Better yet, recycle your rubbish. A lot of plastic can be recycled so don't be lazy and put all your rubbish in one bin, use your recycling bin as much as you can.
- Try and only use biodegradable plastic
These are only a handful of simple changes we can make in our daily lives that will have positive impacts on the environment. These actions will help create a cleaner environment for the next generation, so that they have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the beaches we take for granted every day. Refuse the use plastic to save our planet. If you want to become more involved in reducing plastic pollution here are some sites you can look at:
You can also sign this petition to help ban the use of non biodegradable plastic bags in NSW, WA and VIC.