There is no doubt that we need to reevaluate our relationship with plastic. This material appears, at first glance, to be wonderfully convenient and versatile. This is the very reason its popularity has soared in recent decades, to the extent that it is now used to wrap virtually every product you can imagine. But this convenience runs out quickly when you consider every piece of plastic that has ever been created is still in existence today because this material can take up to a thousand years to fully decompose. Even when it does break down, plastic never truly “disappears,” but simply splits into countless fragments of microplastic.
The durability of plastic – not to mention the fact that only 15 percent of it is recycled, with the rest going straight to landfill – is causing serious problems for both land and marine animals. Countless animals have lost their lives after ingesting, becoming entangled in, or being suffocated by items like plastic bags. Even the tiniest, most seemingly innocuous piece of plastic can be fatal to a fish or another small animal. 700 marine species are threatened with going extinct in the near future unless we take strong action to clamp down on the amount of plastic that enters our oceans (an estimated 8.8 million tons per year). All too often, we are confronted by tragic images of animals and birds who have met their deaths at the hands of our waste … and it is easy for us to despair that things will never change.
However, environmental photojournalist Paul Hilton has now sought to inspire his Instagram followers to fight for the planet in a positive way … by showing us how all marine animals should be allowed to live.
This stunning photo depicts a hawksbill turtle exploring the wonderfully pristine waters of a shallow reef in Komodo National Park. Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered, as they are frequently targeted by the illegal wildlife trade: their shells cruelly hacked off to be used as jewellery and sold on to unsuspecting tourists. Overfishing and plastic pollution are other grave threats to these turtles’ long-term survival.
Seeing this critically endangered animal swimming safely through crystal-clear waters – exactly as nature intended – is bound to inspire us to do whatever we can to keep it that way. Let’s hope that we humans can pull together enough to get rid of the plastic scourge choking our oceans, and that the idyllic scene portrayed in Hilton’s photo can once again become an achievable reality for all marine animals.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, it is One Green Planet’s belief that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.
The resources below will give you some tips on how to get started!
- 10 Simple Actions That Just Might Save Our World’s Oceans From Plastic
- 5 Simple Go-To Tips to Shrink Your Plastic Footprint
- 3 Fun and Friendly Ways to Cut Plastic Out of Your Life – and Help Others as Well!
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Image Source: Paul Hilton/Instagram