The Solution is Less Pollution
By now I am sure we are all aware of just how much waste we as humans throw away on a daily basis, but do we realise where it is going?
It is currently estimated that there is a staggering 8-14 million tonnes of plastic sitting on the seafloor. This number is largely made up of microplastics (extremely small pieces of plastic) and is up to 35 times more than the estimated weight of plastic pollution on the ocean's surface. To put this into perspective, there are more pieces of plastic in our oceans than stars in the galaxy.
The use of plastics for everyday items such as food wrapping, or online deliveries has driven the amount of plastic waste to levels our planet cannot sustain. COVID-19 has escalated the single use plastic consumption around the world. It is estimated that if every person in the United Kingdom used a face mask for every day of the year it would produce 66,000 tonnes of contaminated waste and 57,000 tonnes of plastic packaging. Those numbers extreme, especially when you consider that is one form of plastic, we use each day.
Many will not consider the implications of single use plastics and the disposal of them because they fail to see how it affects them. The problem is it does affect you. More than you know. Did you know that 93% of bottled water showed signs of microplastic contamination? It has been found that by eating the recommended amounts of seafood, sugars, salt and beer, the average man could be ingesting 52,000 microplastic pieces a year. Let that sink in. What some fail to realise is that the plastic pollution is not isolated to the ocean, it is entering our food chains.
Now, it's not all bad news.. there are initiatives and actions being taken around the world to reduce the amount of plastic pollution. Examples include, Indonesia pledging $1 billion to clean up the ocean and Kenya banning the use of plastic bags. Sweden are calling for countries to send their waste to them, burning of rubbish generates 20% of the countries heating needs with enough left over to provide electricity for 250,000 homes.
There are actions that you can take too. Simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on the number of single use plastics we see entering our oceans every year. One of the steps I have made is investing in a reusable water bottle, I have completely stopped using plastic water bottles which is a small change but will still make a big difference. Other examples include, using bags for life, being aware of food packaging, investing in eco-friendly sanitary products and making sure you recycle any plastics you do happen to use in your daily life.
Through small changes big changes happen. If we assume someone else will do it and the effort we make doesn't amount to anything the situation will only worsen. We still have a chance to save this planet, let's not waste it.