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Plastic pollution has been labelled the most ‘grotesque’ problem facing our world at the moment. With experts estimating that by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight, it doesn’t look like this environmental disaster is going away. But what is it? It is, specifically, the accumulation of plastic products in areas that adversely affect wildlife and their habitats. On Henderson Island, for example, a tiny uninhabited place in the South Pacific, 18 tonnes of plastic have been discovered on beaches meaning that 99.8% of pollution on the island is caused by plastic. This extreme case serves to demonstrate the extent to which our oceans are filled with plastic.
Plastic pollution can also affect humans: plastic is made from toxins which, when we dispose of products, are released into the air and the water. Newborn babies have been found to have toxins related to plastic production in their blood streams and 83% of the world’s water supplies have been found to be contaminated with plastic fibres.
So what can you do to help prevent, or at least slow down, this plastic monster? These 5 small wins will help you make a difference:
5 Easy Ways to Help Stop Plastic Pollution
Take your own reusable carrier bags to stores. In the UK, Tesco announced they will no longer make the thin “5p bags” – a big win for plastic conservationists. But don’t stop there; consider what products you are buying: purchase the unwrapped veggies and wash them when you get home; buy glass water bottles (if you need to buy water bottles at all); check packaging to see if it is recyclable.
2. Pack your own lunch
One of the biggest markets for disposable (and usually non recyclable) plastics is convenience food. Pack a lunch in a reusable container rather than buying it on the go. You’ll save heaps of money too!
3. Educate others
Let your friends and family know that the water bottles they are drinking from are contaminating the water in the tap! Kindly pass on the knowledge you have learned and offer practical tips to help them improve on any bad habits. (Or simply share this article!)
4. Invest in brands
Seek out brands that make a conscious effort to reduce their plastic. Brands such as Ecover, Chillys, Lush, Ambatalia, Eco-Vision, Life Without Plastic and Planet Box are all trying to do their bit to combat our addiction to plastic.
5. Help a charity
Whether you want to donate some of your hard earned dollar to a good cause or get your hands dirty with a beach clean up, there are loads of brilliant charities out there waging war on plastic. Here are a few: Plastic Pollution Coalition, Sea Life Trust, Surfrider Foundation, 5 Gyres and Take 3.