Over 70% of the planet’s surface is covered in our oceans. The ocean is the world’s largest habitat and is home to an incredible amount of biodiversity. Millions of plant and animal species live within this complex marine environment. Worldwide our oceans are facing severe stress and damage from several issues including plastic pollution, over-fishing, and marine debris.
We must work to educate ourselves about these issues so that we can save our oceans, and the species living within it.
Single Use Plastic is NOT Fantastic
Globally humans are both producing and using single use plastic at an alarming rate. Sadly, a majority of this plastic is does not get recycled. Plastic marine debris can be found is every area of our oceans. This includes beaches and shorelines, deep trenches, and even polar ice.
Let’s take a look at some facts and numbers involving some of the best known single use plastic items.
Plastic Water Bottles:
60 million water bottles are used in the U.S everyday.
90% of those bottles are used only once.
63 billion gallons of oil is used each year to supply JUST the U.S with plastic water bottles.
Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used in the U.S every single day.
Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found amongst plastic marine debris worldwide.
During a 5-year research & cleanup project, approximately 7.5 million plastic straws were found on U.S. shores.
Worldwide there are approximately 1 trillion plastic bags used each year.
You could drive the average car for one mile using the energy that is required to make just 12 plastic shopping bags.
In the U.S there are approximately 100 billion bags used by shoppers every year. If those bags were laid out in a line they could circle the equator 1,330 times.
The bottom line is that it isn’t just your cup, straw or bag. Everyone’s single use plastic adds up and it is creating a huge mess for our planet and oceans.
So why does this really matter?
Scientists have predicted that by 2050, plastic in our oceans will outweigh fish.
90% of seabirds have swallowed plastic in their lives.
Scientists estimate there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans.
A sad phenomenon called plastic smog is also taking place in our oceans. This is when plastic is hit with sun, waves, and salt which causes it to break down and turn into micro plastics.
How You Can Help:
Carry a reusable water bottle.
Skip the straw.
Use a canvas reusable bag for your groceries.
Consider the packaging of products before you buy them. Is there a plastic free option?
Switch out your plastic toothbrush for an eco-friendly wood or bamboo one.
Switch to plastic free feminine products.
Bring your own mug or to-go cup to the coffee shop. Most places will even give you a discount when you bring your own.
Join a beach cleanup or plan your own!
Share this information with your friends and family and continue doing your part to protect our oceans!