It is estimated that the plastic waste going into the oceans every year could cover every inch of the world’s coastlines.Between 4-12 metric tons of plastics are dumped into the oceans annually with increasingly devastating consequences including the destruction of coral reefs and poisoning of marine species. The greatest danger is that these plastics break down into microplastics which find their way into human bodies through seafood. It is every person’s duty to help reduce this growing menace for the good of the planet. How can you play your part?
Practice the 3R’s
Reduce, reuse and recycle your plastic containers and bags. Plastic bags are especially a big problem as they are produced in huge quantities for shopping. You can carry your own plastic bag to the store and avoid piling them up. Plastic containers can be reused to hold sugar, salt, spices etc.
Avoid single-use plastics
Single-use plastics include straws, water bottles, coffee cups, shopping bags and dry cleaning bags. A personal commitment to stop using these plastics can significantly reduce them in your home and the trash. You can opt to avoid them by using alternatives e.g. reed baskets. You could also re-use what you already have e.g. plastic shopping bags.
Keep off products with microbeads
A good number of personal hygiene products e.g. toothpaste contain very tiny plastics called microbeads. They present a very real risk to marine life and human health because they are directly washed into wastewater systems onwards to the sea. They are readily taken in by all marine species, which then end up on our tables. Avoid products with polyethylene and polypropylene.
Participate in clean-ups
If you live on the coast, help organize and participate in regular beach clean-ups. Even if you don’t live near an ocean, you can help clean the nearby water bodies e.g. rivers, and natural ponds. This water ends up in the ocean, so clearing plastic waste prevents it from washing downstream.
Raising awareness starts by making those around including family and friends aware of the dangers of overusing and incorrect disposal of plastics. You can share content on this topic on your social media accounts. You can also watch documentaries on this subject to show them this is a real and present danger.
Support organizations fighting plastic waste
There are a number of non-profit originations raising awareness and fighting plastic waste in the oceans, for example, Oceanic Society. Consider making a contribution in cash or kind to support their activities.
Fighting plastic waste starts with an individual commitment and effort in preventing this menace from getting out of control for the good of the planet and everything it.