A Sea of Plastic
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We’ve welcomed in the start of a new month, which means we’ve also hit the start of Plastic Free July!
Plastic Free July is a global movement empowering people to join in the challenge of reducing or avoiding single-use plastics during the month of July (and hopefully long into the future).
Plastic is by far one of the biggest threats to the health and survival of the marine ecosystems. In fact, around 12 MILLION tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year.
So which plastics actually end up in the ocean?
- Single-use plastics
- Single-use plastics account for 40% of plastic production. Whether it’s straws or plastic bags, these kinds of plastics might be used by us for just 15 minutes but persist in both terrestrial and marine environments for hundreds and hundreds of years. Once the plastic has found its way into the ocean from the land, it can be carried all around the world.
- Plastic from industry
- Just 20 companies produce 55% of the world’s plastic waste. Plastic waste disposal methods are lacking and much of the industrial plastic pollution ends up in our oceans.
- Lost fishing gear
- Approximately 46% of the 80,000 tonnes of ocean plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of fishing nets. At the same time, an estimated 30% percent of the demise of some fish populations is a result of lost or discarded fishing equipment.
- Plastic pollution from fishing gear left or lost in the sea is becoming a bigger and bigger issue, especially as it starts to get real attention from scientists and activists for the first time.
- All of this plastic is slowly being broken down into microplastic pieces, sometimes less than ⅕ of an inch across. One study found there may be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating around in the sea. The weight of these is equivalent to the weight of the Empire State Building!
Why is plastic such a big problem for the ocean?
- Plastic kills and injures marine animals at each end of the ecosystem
- 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. It is thought around 700 species across both land and sea are impacted by plastic.
- Plastic in the ocean also threatens human health
- Plastic pollution accumulates in the bodies of marine animals that humans then eat. Read more about biomagnification and bioaccumulation via our previous post.
Plastic pollution in the ocean also harms marine landscapes because of toxicity and often facilitates the invasion of non-native species damaging to the local ecosystem.
What can we do to solve the problem?
22% of people feel that they cannot make a difference to the problem of ocean plastic. But, in reality, by making small shifts in our own behavior, we really can all make a world of difference.
Here’s some examples of single-use plastic items that can now be swapped for reusable or zero waste version
- Sanitary products
- Shopping bags
- Water bottles
- Coffee cups
Already, countries like Kenya, India, Germany, Ireland, and Thailand have started imposing a ban on single-use plastic in certain areas, and we will surely be seeing more countries follow suit.
On top of eliminating plastic, when choosing to eliminate fish from your diet or working towards a reduction in the amount of seafood you consume, you play a vital role in preventing the momentous level of harm caused by plastic fishing gear.
At Plantish, we’re excited to bring you a fish with all the good stuff but without leaving tons of plastic in the ocean!
EVERY SHIP NEEDS ITS CREW
NEEDS ITS CREW
Join the Plantish community and let's save our oceans, one fish at a time!
Plastic is by far one of the biggest threats to the health and survival of the marine ecosystems. In fact, around 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year.
On ‘World Rainforest Day’, we’d like to recognize the paramount role that the rainforest plays for our planet and human wellbeing, and to motivate a global movement towards protection and restoration.