Reducing Plastic Pollution – A Checklist!
Since World War 2 the amount of plastic has risen dramatically, largely because of the proliferation of single-use products and packaging, household and consumer waste, littering and poor waste management.
With ever-growing populations, plastic is turning up in every corner of our planet – from Cornish beaches to uninhabited Pacific islands. No single place has escaped contamination.
Ongoing research and reports indicate that more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic (most of them microplastics) float in our oceans. Undeniably, this is causing devastating damage to the entire food chain. Plastics of all sizes are ingested or entangle marine animals – causing injury, disease and mortalities. It is estimated that more than one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year. And these are the figures of the species we are aware of.
Reports suggest that plastic in the seas will rise tenfold by 2025 if no immediate action is taken to dramatically reduce waste generation and manage it more effectively.
Plastics end up in our oceans in a number of ways:
Plastic bottles and packaging littered on our streets can be blown into drains and rivers, which flow down to the sea.
2. Down the plughole
Everything from the microbeads in our toothpaste to synthetic clothing fibers that shed in washing machines and wet wipes flushed down the toilet can end up flowing into the ocean.
Mountains of plastic in open dumps can be blown away and end up in the sea. As more plastic is produced, more of it ends up in our oceans. Plastic flows on ocean currents all over the world so even uninhabited islands in the pacific and arctic are becoming dumping grounds for plastic.
So, how can we reduce plastic pollution?
- Say no to disposable plastics – Protect our oceans by refusing single use plastics such as straws, plastic bags, disposable cutlery, etc.
- Stop buying water – Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed away, get a reusable bottle today!
- Boycott microbeads – These micro-plastics may look harmless, but they do huge damage both to animal and human life.
- Cook more – Preparing your own meals and refusing plastics when you order in, will be hugely beneficial in the fight against plastic!
- Buy second-hand items – New toys and gadgets come with all kinds of plastics, buying second-hand reduces the impact of this.
- Recycle – The more the better!
- Buy in bulk – Instead of buying the same item over and over, reduce packaging by purchasing a larger order.
- Engage manufacturers – Request that less plastic is used in their products, and work with them to make them aware of their impact. Consumer power!