Plastics pollution has become an increasingly serious concern. With plastics not biodegrading, they simply accumulate in greater quantities as they fill up our landfills and oceans. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there may be more plastic in our oceans than fish by the year 2050. But how serious are the dangers of plastic and what can you do to help address this growing concern?
Examining the Plastics Problem
Plastics have become a serious issue in our oceans, which can be clearly seen when viewing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered in 2003 when Captain Charles Moor took a shortcut in the Pacific and stumbled upon a sea of plastic. He and his crew took a week to cross the patch, which is estimated to be three times the size of France. At the surface of the patch, it is estimated that plastic outnumbers organisms at a rate of 180:1. Unfortunately, this one patch is not the only one in existence. Others have been found forming in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, South Pacific, South Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.
The negative effects of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch go beyond simply being an eyesore or a travel obstacle. Research conducted by The Ocean Cleanup found that 84 percent of the plastic found in the patch contains harmful chemical pollutants. This increases the acidification of the oceans, the harmful effects of which are still not fully understood.
Of course, plastics also pose a problem as wildlife becomes entangled in it or attempts to consume it. Microplastics such as glitter are consumed by krill, which serves as the main food source for nearly half of all seals, squids, penguins, fish, and whales. Over time, these microplastics can work their way up the food chain to humans.
Reducing Your Plastics Waste
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help reduce plastics waste. First, you can reduce your consumption by using reusable water bottles and selecting products that do not use excessive packaging. You can also help to clean up waste by volunteering at local beach and waterway cleanups and supporting organizations that work to keep plastics out of our environment. The #2minutebeachcleanup project encourages participants to simply take two minutes to clean up as much trash as they can each time they go to a beach. Then, snap a photo of the waste and post it to social media with the movement’s hashtag. The project has quickly transformed from a little-known hashtag to a massive worldwide movement.
You can also take steps to educate yourself further on the dangers of plastics and how it is consumed. In the United States, less than 8 percent of plastic is recycled. Learning more and implementing a recycling program in your workplace, school or place of business can go a long way toward helping to reduce plastics pollution. With the help of indoor and outdoor recycling bins and multi-stream recycling bins from Securr, you can do your part to reduce plastics waste.