A list of (many) problems associated with marine debris...
Have you ever wondered where your waste goes?
Plastic bags at the supermarket, the plastic lined paper bag with your sandwich at lunch, the soft drink or water bottle that you buy at the service station on the way home from work, the chinese take-away container, plastic cutlery or disposable chopsticks that you use at the market...
Human trash that ends up in the ocean, also known as Marine debris, is a problem that has grown out of control since the introduction of mass-packaging in the mid 20th century, yet many people don't realise the extent to which it is destroying and changing ocean ecosystems, or the potential that they have to create positive change.
6 million tonnes of marine debris makes its way into the oceans every year, which is estimated to weigh as much as 1 million elephants! With turtles, seabirds, whales, dolphins, seals, fish and other marine life mistaking photo-degraded plastics for phytoplankton, jellyfish and other sources of food, marine life is dying at an alarming rate and the problem will only get worse while businesses and governments continue to allow the proliferation of single-use products into the consumer-chain.
Something that is used once should not be sold in a wrapper or container manufactured out of a material that lasts for decades. We need mechanisms in place that allow consumers to reuse the container/wrapper or recycle it and these mechanisms need to explicitly be a part of that products commercial life-cycle. Businesses and corporations must bear the cost and responsibility of the products that they produce and we as consumers need to start changing the way that we consume. It may seem like a huge obstacle to overcome, yet countries and communities are already taking a stand and the best news of all is that ALL of us can act to change the situation.
Check out how Positive Change for Marine Life is taking action on marine debris to conserve ocean ecosystems, by clicking on our Honour the Ocean campaign links below. You can also find out easy ways to reduce your reliance on single-use products or eradicate them entirely from your life!
Positive Change for Marine Life are members of the Boomerang Alliance. To find out more about waste, marine debris and pollution check out their website here.
Honour the Ocean - Marine Debris
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Photographs © Positive Change for Marine Life