Plastic Pollution “Normal human activity is worse for nature than the greatest nuclear accident in history.” ― Martin Cruz Smith

The Issue

The problem that I am going to investigate is the pollution of our waters. As a result, much of our marine life all around the world is dying because of us. Nowadays our on-the-go lifestyles all require easily disposable products such as soft drink aluminium cans or bottles of water, but the amassment of these products has led to increasing amounts of plastic pollution around the world. As plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants, it has the potential to cause great harm to the environments which we can't see which are underwater. Us as humans are using an excess of plastic and other products which we think our safely gotten rid of but the truth is that it is just dumped into the ocean and expected to get rid of itself whereas in reality it won’t and it just infects our used-to-be clean waters. The goal that this closely relates to is Life Below Water as it affects all marine life all over the globe.

How is this caused?

Plastic Pollution is caused by people dumping their rubbish into the ocean and think that it just disappears. Plastic pollution harms all of the ocean environment and it should be stopped.

Here are some statistics:

some of these are shocking amounts of time

Facts

  • There is constantly the equivalent of over 61 billion standard milk bottles floating around in the ocean
  • The equivalent of 1 rubbish lorry full of plastic is dumped in the ocean every minute
  • Scientists estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean
  • In our neighbourhood was the first plastic-free village where all of the shops signed a pledge to not sell any plastic bags at all
  • It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose

Organisations

There are organisations and companies who put on engaging events and articles about the problem to make people more interested in it and encourage them to do something to help. There are different projects set up to raise awareness for clearing up rubbish and debris from the sea and making it into art. One of these projects is called The Washed Ashore Project at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington. This exhibit, which started on 5th September 2016 featured 17 massive sculptures which were made from plastic pollution from oceans. This exhibition had different types of marine life sculptures which included penguins, a jellyfish, an octopus and many more . Each sculpture is made from hundreds of pieces of rubbish which was pick up from the beaches of the West Coast of America. Pieces include fishing nets, bottle caps, soft drink cans and even flip flops that have washed up on beaches. These sculptures send a very important message as well, the large 315 billion pounds (weight) that pollute our oceans is a massive issue that we have to help fight. It is important that we try to resolve this problem as soon as we can and there should be more projects like The Washed Ashore Project that help the cause.

some examples of their artwork

How this affects Us

A large number of fish are dying constantly because of the plastic which has been dumped into their previously clean environments. Fish and other marine life such as turtles mistake these pieces of floating rubbish for food and then they can choke on it which causes their air pipes to be blocked and then they die from asphyxiation and suffocation. You might not realise it but this marine life dying does affect us too. Many communities rely on marine life as their source of food and income. If the marine life around them dies then they will have nothing to eat and therefore die themselves.

A map showing the large rubbish masses in the Pacific Ocean
a plastic ocean
Most of your rubbish ends up in the sea

What YOU can do

How does this Help?

Stop using bottled water

In most cases it is no safer than tap water and costs 3 times as much gasoline and 1,ooo times as much as tap water, 16% of the soft drinks consumed in the uk consists of bottled water which is quite high

Bring your own reusable grocery bags with you when you go to the store

This reduces a massive amount of plastic that gets dumped into the ocean

Say no to single serving packaging

Buy in bulk at the supermarket, this reduces your plastic consumption massively

Make your own fruit juice to avoid buying so many cartons

17% of the soft drinks consumed in the UK consists of fruit juice drinks

if you install a separate plastic recycling bin at home

This means that ALL of the plastic you throw away will be recycled unlike in a mixed recycling bin where there is a smaller chance that it will be actually recycled

Sources

  • National Geographic
  • Global Goals
  • NOAA (National Ocean and Atmosphere Administraion)
  • BSDA (The British Soft Drinks Organisation)
  • The Washed Ashore Project
  • Project Blue Green
  • Conserve Energy Future

By Ella

Credits:

Created with images by Lora Rajah - "The bottom of a water bottle" • Ben_Kerckx - "waste garbage garbage bag" • MikeBird - "rubbish seaside beach" • iamrenny - "Fruit" • siftnz - "Sorted plastic at Mastagard" • DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library"

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