China and Indonesia are the countries that produce largest amount of plastic in the world, including more than a third of the plastic bottles, bags and other detritus washed out to the sea. These two countries are responsible for 12 million metric tons of poorly processed plastic, from which 8.42 million tons end up going to the oceans every year.
This image below realize the TOP 10 of Marine debris:
Fortunately, there are many groups of people that want to do something about this problem. They, for instance, clean up beaches or try to reduce the number of plastics we use in our daily lives. And we can also help, decreasing our plastic consumption:
- Carry reusable shopping bags (over 700 plastic bags a year are consumed for every single person on the planet);
- Carry a reusable water bottle or coffee cup in public (a normal plastic bottle takes about 450 years to break down completely, so the components of a bottle dropped in the ocean today could still be polluting the waters for our great-great-great-…-grandchildren);
- Say no to straws or carry a metal straw in your bag (straws harm marine wildlife and ecosystems);
- Switch to reusable menstrual products;
- Avoid take-away food or food products that are wrapped in plastic or styrofoam;
- Don’t be fooled by “compostable” plastic products. These items are only truly compostable in composting facilities (which we often don’t have access to.);
- Do not support stores that use plastic, bring your own containers or avoid them completely;
- Don’t release balloons into the air. They travel far and end up in our oceans where they are often consumed by marine life that mistakes them for food;
- Recycle. Learn how to if you weren’t taught in school.
- Pack reusable bags, containers and water bottles. Fill up your water bottle at restaurants or hotel fill-ups to avoid buying plastic;
- Pack zero waste snacks for flights/ travel. Re-use your food containers throughout your trip as you empty them;
- “No straw please”, again;
- Avoid takeout/ delivery food and opt for local markets or restaurants instead;
- Make the effort to recycle your trash aboard. Wash it and carry it with you until you find proper disposal bins;
- Opt for Eco-friendly accommodations. Give back to your vacation destination. Get creative.
“We have to take care of the oceans, we have to take care of the Earth!” – Sylvia Earle
Written by Andreia Vieira