Plastics kill marine life! Our Oceans cannot wait anymore!

More than 300 million tons of plastic were produced in 2017 globally from which 7 million ended up in the ocean. If nothing happens to stop this pollution, by 2050 there will be more plastics in oceans than fish!

albatross died after swallowed plastics, photo: Chris Jordan, wikipedia commons

Plastic is a material consisting of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic polymers, such as PET, PVC, nylon and many more. The current problem with plastics is not…current. Actually, it began in the previous century, when people seemed completely ignorant – or intentionally ignorant for the sake of money – about the disastrous consequences the extensive use of plastic could bring on the environment. In 1950 humanity started experiencing a massive technological evolution.The more technology expanded to all fields of people’s everyday life the more manufacturers strived to work with versatile, durable and inexpenssive material. They loved plastic! In this year, 2 million tons of plastic were produced globally. However, no scientist or political leader bothered to see the other side of the matter and take any countermeasures to prevent the environmental pollution. In 21st century this arrogant behavior made the problem even worse.

The destruction in numbers

  • 1950 – 2 million tons of plastic were produced globally (the problem starts here)
  • 2008 – 297.5 million tons of plastic (58 years after the global technological expansion)
  • 2013 – 299 million tons of plastic (63 years later)
  • 2017 – more than 300 million tons of plastic production globally (67 years later)

It has not even passed an entire century and in only 67 years we produced enough plastic for 400 years!

 The uncontrollable use of plastics kill the oceans fast!

sea turtle trapped in plastics photo: tercera information

The PET from which most plastics are made takes 400 years to naturally decompose. Since the plastic waste increases and only the 10% of plastics is recycled, the 400 years are simply not enough for nature to ‘fight the infection’. Meaning…the PET plastics that are produced in 2018 and not be recycled will remain on the environment until  they naturally decompose in 2418…

seal trapped in floating plastics photo:the conversation

7 million tons of the global plastic production end up in the oceans each year. There, the plastic disintegrates into tiny pieces (smaller than two-tenths of an inch) and because it is difficult to scoop them in this form, they are swalled by marine life. Bigger pieces of plastics, such as bottle caps and plastic bags account for the death of 1 million seabirds and 100.000 marine mammals annually.

baby penguin killed by plastic, photo: Andrew Pitt, Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

80% of ocean pollution comes from land and more than half of it goes back to the land again through food chain! In other words, we eat the litter we throw in the sea! Researches indicate that people who consume regularly seafood ingest thousand tiny microplastics each year –  no, your sushi is not an exception. Some of the plastic chemicals the body absorbs can alter the normal hormone function causing unpredectable health problems.

crab trapped in plastic cap photo: Swan Miller

90% of trash floating on the ocean’s surface are plastics, with 46.000 pieces of plastic per square mile! it is estimated that by the end of 2050 , 12 billion metric tons of plastic will end up in landfills and the ocean will contain more plastic by weigh than fish!

photo: national geografic

A new research conducted by Euromonitor International, revealed that 1 million water bottles are bought every minute around the world, that is nearly the excessive amount of 20.000 water bottles per second! Americans alone, use approximately 50 billion plastic water bottles annually but recycle only 23% of them. People mistekenly opt for bottled water as they think it’s more clear. Unfortunately, some tests results revealed that the 93% of Americans age six or older, who regular drink from plastic bottles, were found positive to the plastic chemical BPA…

photo: conserve energy

The plastic bag or bottle of water or any plastic you dispose to the sea can travel a distance as far as from Spain to Brazil or form London to South Africa. This makes the matter being a global threat because it is very difficult to restict the pollution.

white bear’s head trapped in plastic cone

Ways to reduce the pollution

Recycle. Gather ALL the plastic paraphernalia you have in the house and you do not need anymore and throw them into the recycling bin. That’s all. Plus, this way you will clean the mess in the attic!

Use cloth or other reusable bags when you go shopping. There are beautiful reusable bags in the market with elegant prints. Protect the environment with style! Choose the one you like or be creative and make your own cloth bag using the color or print you like, as i did. In any case, stop using plastic bags altogether.

Substitude plastic bottles with refillable ones and use thermos for your coffee when you go to work. By the end of 2018 many cafes in Europe will provide this option to their customers.

Join team volunteering activities of your community. I suppose you want a clean neighborhood to live in and a clean park to go jogging!

Talk about the problem with family and friends. The main reason people behave recklessly when it comes to environmental issues is because they are unaware of the real problem.

Learn more about the recycling process here

There are many things you don’t see on the naked eye yet they exist, like electricity. You can’t  see electricity in the form of protons but you can use it to cook your meal.  Not seeing the tiny plastic pieces in the water it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The problem is here and awaits for a solution. It is wrong to think of the oceans as a different part of our life. Actually, we are more connected to the oceans than you may imagine. We are all part of the same eco system. This is why whatever disrupts nature affects our lives. If no serious and collective actions of cleaning up the oceans take place globally in the next years, the impact on marine life and subsequently on our lives will be unprecedented.

As for those who govern the strong economies of this world and brag about their cleverness to spend billions of dollars in a try to inhabit other planets, they may need to undergo a brain x-ray to check what’s wrong with their mind. Because, even a ten-year-old child can understand that it is easier, more practical and much more cost effective to save the planet Earth from destruction than competing with UFOs…



Sources: Science Advances, Ban the Bottle, WorldWatch, The Guardian, Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, EcoWatch