We have a serious plastic problem. Every year, around 300 million tons of this material are produced and only a mere 15 percent of that is recycled. Most plastic items are single-use – after all, that’s what makes it convenient and desirable – meaning they get dumped straight in the trash after they’ve served their purpose. Sadly, most plastic goes from living in a landfill to polluting the ocean rather quickly. An estimated 8.8 million tons of plastic waste find their way into the oceans each year where it threatens over 700 marine species with extinction.

Seeing as plastic can take hundreds of years to break down – and when it finally does, it doesn’t disappear like organic materials, but rather breaks into smaller and smaller pieces of microplastics, which can be just as harmful to marine life. There are already 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean alone and more and more “trash islands” are popping up across the ocean’s gyres.

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Luckily, there are many people who are unwilling to accept this gross reality and are instead working to raise awareness for plastic pollution and help put and end to our reckless usage of this material. Cal Major is one of those people.

This summer, Cal set out to paddleboard 260 miles around the Cornish coastline in the UK, from Plymouth to Croyde – a distance that is equivalent to 10 marathons – all to raise awareness for plastic pollution in the oceans. On the Just Giving Page for her Paddle Against Plastic 2016 campaign, Cal explains that in exchange for this challenge she is taking on, she is challenging everyone to stop using plastic water bottles and replace them with reusable ones instead. In addition, she is raising funds for Surfers Against Sewage, a UK-based marine conservation organization focused on protecting vital coastlines from pollution.

Not only will Cal be holding beach clean ups along the way, but she is also chronicling her journey with photos on Facebook so the world can see the reality of how plastic has impacted our marine environments.

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This one photo shows Cal in a cove where she found 78 plastic water bottles! Can you imagine, all of that trash just in one single cove in the UK – how many more plastic pockets must there be out there?!

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This awesome activist has only been on the water for about a week now, but she’s already witnessed a ton of trash – and is sure there’s much more to come. To keep up with Cal, follow her Paddle Against Plastic 2016 Facebook page.

What You Can Do

Not all of us have the ability to paddle 260 miles to raise awareness for plastic pollution, but we can all make a difference by simply using less plastic in our daily lives.

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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.

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All image source: Paddle Against Plastic/Facebook