'Plastics are the most common man made objects sighted at sea, with 18,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of the world's oceans, outnumbering sea life 6 to 1.'
Plastic is a substance the Earth cannot use up. Plastic does not biodegrade, so it never goes away. It pollutes the land, oceans, and rivers. It poisons the food chain, piles up in the environment, and threatens wildlife.
Humans produce over 300 million tonnes of plastic ever year and 4.7 million tons of plastic ends up in oceans. Nearly half of this is used and then thrown away, but as David Attenborough has said: “There is no ‘away’ because plastic is so permanent and so indestructible. When you cast it into the ocean … it does not go away”
Plastic is quite literally choking life out of the oceans and destroying the eco-systems. In March 2016, 13 sperm whales washed up on shores around the North Sea, all of them had their stomachs filled with plastic. That same month, a plastic straw was removed from the nose of a sea turtle. Nearly all Laysan albatross chicks have plastic pieces in their stomachs. More than 100,000 turtles, dolphins, seals, and whales, die each year from ingesting or becoming tangled in plastic debris.
This isn't only affecting wildlife. It's also affecting the human race. Plastic is making it's way into the food chain: Fish in the North Pacific ingest 12000 to 24000 tonnes of plastic each year. Chemicals used in most plastics, such as BPA, have been found to disrupt embryonic development in both animals and humans.
The oceans are clogging up with plastic and we have to stop it. How? The answers are simple:
- Use less plastic
- Reuse plastic
- Having a birthday party? Buy paper straws.
- Don't buy personal care products (face washes, toothpastes etc) with plastic micro-beads - These microbeads have been used since the 70's and are designed to absorb toxins in the water. They're eaten by marine life, and can then make their way up the food chain all the way to our dinner plates.
- ''Remember that plastic was made to last a lifetime and beyond - So stop thinking it is disposable. There is no 'away' - http://www.plasticoceans.net/what-can-you-do/
- Above all, don't be disheartened and remember that it is possible for us all to contribute to saving the ocean.
At Arya Candles, we are going to challenge ourselves to go to the first week in May without buying anything that uses plastic. After that, we'll drastically reduce our plastic consumption, and make efforts to re-use plastic, and clean up the natural environment around us.
Follow our progress over on Twitter.