Every year, over 300 million tons of plastic materials come into circulation, and shockingly, only 15 percent gets recycled. That means 85 percent of plastic ends up in a landfill, but that’s not where the story ends. As much as 80 percent of the trash from land-based sources gets washed into the world’s oceans – and nearly 90 percent of that is plastic. On an annual basis, this adds up to around 8.8 million tons of plastic!
Although that is certainly a lot of trash, the impact is even more unsettling. It is estimated that around 700 marine species are in danger of extinction due to entanglement, ingestion, and pollution. This grave reality drove artist Brendon Antonelli to create a sea lion sculpture made entirely of trash collected from the ocean.
This striking sculpture foreshadows the real impact of our disposable plastic habit.
Image source: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium/Instagram
The sculpture might be beautiful, but it alludes to a sad future for marine life. If we continue to dump plastic into the world’s waterways, there will soon come a time where the ocean is home to more of our trash than actual marine life – sadly, this reality seems to already be taking form. This sculpture exists as a pertinent reminder that we’re all responsible for our trash and the impact that it has down the line. Grabbing a plastic water bottle or bag might be convenient, but is it really worth it?
We applaud Antonelli for using art to bring this grave reality to the forefront. Now, it’s up to us to take action.
“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But is it worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source and give marine life a fighting chance,” says Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet.
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.
Want to reduce your own plastic and trash habit? Join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic movement to learn how.