‘Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.’
— W.H. Auden
As 70% of the earth is covered with water, many of us have probably thought at some point before that because the ocean is so vast, the litter ending up in it would get diluted and will eventually disappear. However as we can see the issue has strongly accelerated recently. Today, plastics are the number one type of waste found in the sea, and one of the reasons that plastic pollution is such a problem is that it merely breaks down into smaller pieces attracting more debris but won’t go away.
This litter is found everywhere from the North Pole to desert islands and affects dozens species of marine life which as seafood can end up on our plates causing serious health problems.
The truth is that the biggest cause of oceanic pollution comes from activities based on land like sewage, industrial runoff, deliberate garbage dumping into waterways, etc. Recent study has found that microplastics (small particles of plastics) can also get extracted of synthetic clothing, like polyester or acrylic and a single cycle of a washing machine could discharge more than 700,000 plastic fibers into the environment.
In spite of many organizations’ efforts, an estimated 19 billion pounds of plastic garbage annually enter the ocean. Around one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution and three hundred thousand dolphins and
porpoises die each year as a result of becoming ensnared in thrown away fishing nets, among other items, even the rings of a plastic six-pack holder can pose a big danger.
Everyone can do something to reduce their personal footprint and here are some tips on how we can help:
1. Do not litter. Always “take five” whenever you leave a space to ensure that you’ve collected all your trash.
2. Whenever you see litter – dispose of it correctly. This seemingly small action will add up.
3. Steer clear of microbeads. Plastic microbeads are sometimes added as an exfoliating agent to beauty products like face scrubs, body washes and toothpaste. They can go along unfiltered through sewage systems and end up in waterways, and ultimately the sea.
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce use of disposable plastics (bags, bottles, straws), utilize your own reusable bag to purchase groceries and of course, dispose of plastics properly.
5. Spread the word. Make your friends and family aware of the pollution issues as people cannot change what they do not know about.
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