Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to ocean health worldwide with skyrocketing plastic production, low levels of recycling, and poor waste management, between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year — enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet! And that amount is expected to more than double in the next 10 years. Let that sink in for a moment.
In the ocean, plastic pollution impacts sea turtles, whales, seabirds, fish, coral reefs, and countless other marine species and habitats. In fact, scientists estimate that more than half of the world’s sea turtles and nearly every seabird on Earth have eaten plastic in their lifetimes. Plastic pollution also mars otherwise beautiful beaches, coastlines, and snorkel and dive sites worldwide.
One of the reasons that plastic pollution is such a problem is that it doesn’t go away, instead, plastic debris simply breaks down into ever-smaller particles, known as microplastics, whose environmental impacts are still being determined.
What can we do about ocean plastic pollution?
- Reduce Your Use of Single-Use Plastics by refusing any single-use plastics that you do not need (e.g. straws, plastic bags, takeout utensils, takeout containers), and by purchasing, and carrying with you, reusable versions of those products. And when you refuse single-use plastic items, help businesses by letting them know that you would like them to offer alternatives.
- Participate In (or Organize) a Beach or River Cleanup. Help remove plastics from the ocean and prevent them from getting there in the first place by participating in or organizing a cleanup of your local beach or waterway. This is one of the most direct and rewarding ways to fight ocean plastic pollution.
- Avoid Products Containing Microbeads (tiny plastic particles) that have become a growing source of ocean plastic pollution in recent years. Microbeads are found in some face scrubs, toothpaste, and body washes, and they readily enter our oceans and waterways through our sewer systems and affect hundreds of marine species. Avoid products containing plastic microbeads by looking for “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of your cosmetic products.
- Spread the Word and stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and help make others aware of the problem. Tell your friends and family about how they can be part of the solution.
- Recycle Properly. This should go without saying, but when you use single-use (and other) plastics that can be recycled, always be sure to recycle them. At present, just 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide. Recycling helps keep plastics out of the ocean and reduces the amount of “new” plastic in circulation. If you need help finding a place to recycle plastic waste just contact us at UsJunkTrash.com and we will ensure to keep.