There is a patch of plastic in the Pacific Ocean the size of Europe. There are even more garbage patches in the ocean… If we keep up, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Every minute literally 1 ton of plastic makes its way into the ocean.
What’s the problem with plastic in the ocean?
I stumbled over this video quite a while ago and I still really love it – it explains it so well 😁💚
Friday last week I had the pleasure to attend the blogger workshop on plastic pollution in the oceans, hosted by the NPO Whale & Dolphin Conservation. Most of it I had already heard or read. But it was definitely something else to have a marine biologist explain it and to be able to ask some more questions. Ghost nets, for example, are drifting fishing nets that have been lost or “disposed of”. Sea creatures often get entangled in the nets and are injured or starve to death. I did know that, but it still shocked me to hear that it usually takes months, because both whales and dolphins have a lot of body fat. They are highly intelligent so they know that all they can do is to drift and die a slow death😢💔. More on the topic here.
I really enjoyed the workshop that brought together people from different areas: animal protection, food, zero waste, travelling, lifestyle, beauty, fashion, and business. It was so inspiring and great to meet everyone 💚!
But how DOES all the plastics end up in the Pacific Ocean? It’s not like we rent a ship to throw our household trash into the water…
This great and very entertaining mockumentary is about a plastic bag, however, this does apply to all sorts of lightweight trash:
Did you know that 80% of the plastics in the ocean comes from land-based activities and not from what is thrown or lost overboard from ships? It is trash blown from the streets, trash cans, or landfills into rivers, sewers, or directly into the ocean. However, it is also microplastics from products like toothpaste or from washing your clothes made from or with synthetic fibres!
I always thought that throwing my trash into trash cans and dumpsters meant that I could prevent that. While this does help, there is no guarantee none of it will not end up in the huge Pacific garbage patch.
Just a couple of months ago we visited a waste management facility, and I snatched this photo of open containers full of plastic trash right out in the open where some of it can easily be blown away.
There are also trash mountains at the harbor right next to the water, waiting to be loaded onto a ship. Guess what – of course a part of it will get blown right into the rivers or the sea!
So what can I do?
Preventing plastic waste from happening in the first place is of course the best method to nip the problem in the bud.
- Don’t buy or use cosmetics that contain microbeads! Your product contains microbeads if it lists one of the followings as an ingredient: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate.
- Prefer natural over synthetic fibres when buying new (or pre-owned) cloths.
- Don’t throw trash onto the street (nope, no cigarette buds either), and do pick up a thing or two when you walk past loose trash on the street.