In this day and age, there’s just no escaping plastic. It’s the wrapping around that protein bar we grab after the gym, the lid to our to-go coffee cup, the utensils in our take-out bags. Simply put, if you feel like plastic is everywhere, you would be right. In the past 30 years, global plastic production has jumped 620 percent. If we want to talk numbers, that’s 300 million tons of plastic materials coming into circulation annually and get this: 85 percent of the plastic we produce never sees the inside of a recycling bin. It gets sent to landfills instead … but plastic doesn’t stay there. Unfortunately, 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, where it pollutes our waters and puts marine life in danger. Along with the large pieces of plastics that are invading our oceans are microplastics; tiny bits of plastic debris, typically less than one millimeter in width that can come from cosmetics and soaps that contain microbeads. They can also be larger plastics that have been broken down over time. It’s estimated that there are trillions of microplastics in our oceans. Recently, Surfers Against Sewage posted these photos of what it looks like when microplastics take over.
Looks like glitter, right? Much like glitter, once microplastic is there, you can never get rid of it. It’s not fun like glitter, though. Microplastics can cause neurological damage and block the digestive tracts in certain marine species which leads to starvation.
Studies have even shown that the deepest regions of our oceans serve as sinks for these nasty particles. We know it sounds like sci-fi horror, but it’s not.
What’s more, zooplankton, which are the cornerstone of marine ecosystems, are outnumbered by microplastics 26:1. Zooplankton snack on microplastics, fish eat the microplastics, and you know what they say … you are what you eat. That is … essentially, if you eat seafood – you’re eating plastic.
If all of this concerns you, then don’t worry — we can play a part in creating a better future for our oceans. By taking simple steps to cut single-use plastics out of your life and encouraging friends and family to do the same, we can make a difference. Never forget your reusable shopping bag. If getting coffee to go is part of your regular routine, invest in a reusable travel mug. These might seem like small steps, but every little bit helps.
To learn more about Surfer’s Against Sewage, visit their official website.
To learn more about how to cut plastic out of your life, read the following articles:
- 20 Switches to Get Plastic Out of Your Life
- 10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture
To start cutting plastic out of your everyday life – join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
All image source: Surfer’s Against Sewage/Facebook