A Plastic Ocean
“From knowing comes caring, and from caring comes change.”
When the masses think of our global plastic addiction affecting the ocean, the extent of the problem is widely portrayed as plastic bags being mistaken by turtles as jellyfish. While there is complete truth to this, it is just the tip of a massive, plastic-filled iceberg. A Plastic Ocean dives under the surface and shows us the rest.
Each year, 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans, and this number is expected to increase 10 times over by the year 2025. 10 times. There’s already estimated to be 5 trillion pieces of plastic afloat in our oceans worldwide! The U.S. alone throws away 38 billion plastic bottles every year, and 80% of ocean plastic has leaked from land-based sources. It’s a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it?
Our marine life is having a hard time swallowing a different kind of pill, and A Plastic Ocean highlights how this is affecting human health. Sunlight, waves, and salt break down the ocean plastics into micro-plastics, and when these pieces come into contact with chemicals from industry and agriculture, they literally become little pills of toxicity.
Plankton eat these plastics, small fish eat these plankton, squid eat these small fish, and so the toxicity goes up the food chain until it reaches our plates. The chemicals from the plastic leak into the muscles and fatty areas of the fish—the areas we eat. With more than 2.6 billion people dependent on the ocean for their primary source of protein, we really need to clean up our act.
We’re corrupting these pure ecosystems with our addiction to convenience, our laziness, and our inability to contain the problem we’ve all helped to create. There is hope, though! Through bioremediation, phytoremediation, green technology such as pyrogenesis, and closed-loop and circular systems, we can help to remove the plastic from our oceans.
So give A Plastic Ocean a watch. It’s heartbreaking, educational, and inspiring, and it will (hopefully) make you consider the amount of plastic you bring into your home.