Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Reducing Your Plastic

Hi, yes I am studying marine biology and yes I am going to blab to you about saving the marine environment.

You are probably sick of hearing about your plastic usage nowadays, seeing as there are countless adverts and news articles on how they are polluting our planet. The reality is that plastics are in a way indeed killing our environment.

As a population we consume 245 million tonnes of plastic per year, with the overall cost of plastic pollution costing around 4.7 billion in that time (GESAMP, 2015). Not only is the issue in the greenhouse gases released when plastic eventually degrades, but also the effects plastic pollution is having on our animals, especially our marine organisms. A number of species are consuming the plastic packaging that has been dumped into the oceans by fisheries and the public themselves. They mistake its identity for a food source, for instance plastic bags are known to be consumed by turtles who mistake them for jellyfish. Plastic bags contain Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) that are toxic for animals in high concentrations and can as a consequence lead to eutrophication further up the food chain therefore may even be harming ourselves without us even knowing. Also, animals like sea birds and other organisms are becoming entangled in parts of the packaging debris that floats along the surface of our oceans. This debilitates the animals and can lead to death, having catastrophic effects on our marine ecosystem and animals populations as a whole with certain sea turtle species numbers declining by up to 95% of their original population. If nothing is done this problem will just continue to escalate further.

The issue of plastic has become more widely known and this has led to many attempts being made to reduce our overall consumption as a planet. Many reusable alternatives are being produced with shops and restaurants being seen to scrap plastic usage all together and opting for more wholesale options where you bring your own bags and containers for produce.  Little steps can make a difference, whether it be you just taking a reusable cup to a coffee shop (which can save you money as well) or even taking your own metal straw rather than wasting the plastic ones. Also cutting the plastic packaging that comes on cans to hold them together or the rings off the long life milk sealers will prevent animals becoming trapped in them. Not being lazy is what will make the impact, make an effort to save our planet. Yes, it may be tedious to carry a reusable cup, straw or bag with you day to day, but the difference it will make is worthwhile. Please do not litter on the beaches or streets, find a recycling bin to reduce landfills. Taking part in beach cleans can really help your local council, it will protect the marine animals and also help to improve the appeal of your local beaches.

In a nutshell there are many things you can do to help, because in order to help combat the growing issue of plastic everyone needs to get on board. Realistically one person is not going to make a difference, everyone needs to take a step to reduce their plastic usage including you.

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