Small Changes Make a Big Difference – Say no to Single Use Plastic

Recently I watched Blue Planet and seeing images of the way plastic affects our ocean life was really shocking to me because before this I hadn’t really thought much about it.

Single use plastic is everywhere and most of the time we don’t even think twice about using it for example, take away coffee cups, plastic bags, cotton ear budis, plastic drinking straws, micro beads, plastic water bottles… The list could continue for ages. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form, only to be used for a couple of minutes and then thrown away.

Unfortunately, we cannot escape the consequences of throwing away massive amounts of a material that takes years and years to break down. Plastics stay in the ocean for a very long time, breaking down into small pieces and never really going away. These micro-plastics form a toxic type of smog which is then distributed throughout the bottom of the sea. As a result of this we face many problems such as the fact that nineteen billion pounds of plastic wind up in the sea each year. Scientists predict that if we don’t take action, the amount of plastics in our oceans will exceed the amount of fish, pound by pound, by 2050.

Sea animals find it difficult to distinguish between plastic and food.

In March, a ten meter long whale was found dead on the coast of Spain. It was soon discovered that the whales stomach had over seventeen kilograms of greenhouse supplies such as sheeting, rope, flower pots etc. that had been discarded into the Medditranian Sea.

In the Netherlands in July, a thirteen and a half meter long whale was discovered washed up at the beach but still clinging to life. Unfortunately, all attempts to rescue it failed. Plastic was also found in its stomach. Ocean garbage has been shown to kill many other animals in very similar ways.

Turtles prefer buoyant plastic over other types of sea litter because they can  resemble jellyfish. Most of it gets trapped in the turtles throat which therefore causes it to die from suffocation.

It is difficult to tell exactly how many animals are affected by plastic in the oceans each year but some have said it could be as high as one hundred thousand.

There are many small ways that we can use less plastic that will make a big difference such as:

  • use reusable water bottles
  • take your own bag with you to the supermarket
  • use cotton buds made of paper in the middle instead of plastic (Johnsons cotton buds are made from paper)
  • use paper straws
  • avoid disposable cutlery
  • purchase refill products where possible

It is important to think about the products you are buying and make good choices. Small changes make a big difference.

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