The impact our obsession with plastic has on the world’s oceans is staggering, to say the least. Due to the convenience of single-use objects like plastic utensils, plastic packaging, plastic shopping bags, and more, global production of plastic has increased exponentially — by 620 percent, to be exact. Globally, over 300 million tons of plastic materials come into circulation every year and yet 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans annually because 85 percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled.
Where does all this trash go once it’s made its way from land to sea? Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t apply here; nearly 90 percent of the trash that ends up in our oceans is plastic and it affects the lives of the creatures who live there. Tragically, it is estimated that around 700 marine species are faced with extinction thanks to the threat that plastic poses them in the form of entanglement, ingestion, and pollution.
Now, it is one thing to hear this statistic and a whole other to see what this really translates to in terms of impact…
Hermit crabs typically use discarded shells they find on the ocean floor to protect themselves … in the case of this crab, however, it seems that plastic trash was more abundant than shells.
This photo was posted by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and shared as part of their Operation Jairo campaign. Operation Jairo is working to protect endangered sea turtles in Honduras, and while poachers are the primary target of their campaign, these turtles are also threatened by plastic pollution – a recent study found that 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs. Luckily for turtles and all marine animals, the Sea Shepherd team conducts regular beach cleaning sessions as part of their campaign, so while this little hermit crab with a plastic home might not be the best sign, we certainly hope that with their help conditions will improve.
What You Can Do
Our plastic pollution is causing major damage to the ocean, according to a study by the World Economic Forum, our oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050, but we have the power to help our oceans and the marine animals who live there.
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes 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.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Lead image source: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/Facebook