Humanity is no stranger to the intensifying climate crisis. In fact, humanity is one of the main causes for the climate crisis due to their exploitation and overuse of our planet’s natural resources.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) , about 130,000 tonnes of plastic leak into the oceans every year in Australia. It is estimated that by 2050, plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish! These predictions emphasise the need for governments, businesses, and us as a society to implement sustainable design and processes to eliminate the usage of plastics.
Why is plastic bad for our oceans?
Plastic is used in almost every sector from packaging materials to transportation, to electrical and even textile industries. The material is extremely durable a result of which much of it is not biodegradable. Did you know that plastic bottles take a whopping 450 years to decompose in landfills? (SMCC, 2022) . Consequently, a lot of plastics are incinerated which further contributes to air pollution by releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. If they are not incinerated, they are dumped in landfills or they find their way into our oceans.
Thousands of marine organisms get trapped and entangled in plastic waste floating in the ocean. This inhibits their movement and causes injuries and infections. Several organisms also ingest microplastics commonly mistaking them for food. This can severely affect the animals’ internal organs which can be detrimental. It has been estimated that plastic pollution kills 100,000 marine mammals every year (WWF, 2021).
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an accumulation of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean that covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers (The Ocean Cleanup, 2022) . This patch has come into existence because of the amount of non-biodegradable marine debris that has accumulated due to the water currents.
What can we do to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans?
As a consumer, the biggest impact that we can make to curb plastic pollution is to reduce our use of single-use plastics. Single-use plastics include candy wrappers, plastic straws, and plastic bags. These items are used daily and more often than not, disposed off quickly. We often prioritise convenience over durability and that leads to an increased amount of trash and waste. Switch up your plastic straws to paper straws, utilise a cloth bag for your shopping and drink your coffee in a reusable cup. At Uuvipak, we produce 100% biodegradable cups and bowls that are made from organic waste which can compost under normal circumstances. Did we mention that they’re edible as well?
Do your bit to contribute to sustainability to protect our planet and our oceans!
Photo credits: Christoffer Engström on Unsplash