The physical warning signs and mounting facts about the dire effects of plastic in our oceans and practically everywhere can no longer be denied or ignored. Here are some quick and deeply alarming facts from earthday.org to put this immense global issue in context:
- About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually. Of those, 236,000 tons are microplastics – tiny pieces of broken-down plastic smaller than your little fingernail.
- There are five massive patches of plastic in the oceans around the world. These huge concentrations of plastic debris cover large swaths of the ocean; the one between California and Hawaii is the size of the state of Texas.
- Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans.
- The amount of plastic in the ocean is set to increase tenfold by 2020.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight).
- Many marine organisms can’t distinguish common plastic items from food. Animals who eat plastic often starve because they can’t digest the plastic and it fills their stomachs, preventing them from eating real food.
- Many fish humans consume, including brown trout, cisco, and perch, have at one time or another, ingested plastic microfibers
- The Philippines ranks 3rd in the ranking by mass of mismanaged plastic waste all over the world, with China being on top and Indonesia 2nd.
Now is the right time to act and help reduce plastic consumption even in our own little ways. Check out these creative hacks:
Bring your own clean utensils, tumblers, food containers ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE.
Doing a coffee run? Say no to that takeout cup and straw and ask the barista to use your own tumbler instead. For takeout food, stop using plastic cutlery and ask them to pack your food in your own container instead.
Never underestimate the power of the eco bag.
Sure, most grocery stores in the metro offer to put your purchases in boxes and paper bags, but those can also contribute to paper waste. Invest in a good, easily portable eco bag you can carry around with you anytime.
Get your DIY mode on and get creative with the plastic items you have at home.
Switch to e-billing, e-mails, e-everything!
Stop getting your bills or notices mailed to you. It’s 2018! Everything can be done online. Just do your research.
Instead of buying necessary items like detergent, shampoo, conditioners, etc. look for eco-friendly products that have refill variants. Just use one good container for each instead of having to buy every single time you need them.
Make your own natural beauty products.
In an article by treehugger, it was revealed that much of the plastic that’s polluting the oceans is microplastics are also commonly added to consumer products like face wash and toothpaste. These little beads are intended to be exfoliators, but many wastewater treatment facilities aren’t able to stop them. Plus most of these skin care products are contained in plastics that may cause more harm than good. Look for beauty enhancers that may already be in your kitchen.