We think of our big blues as immense and untouchable, yet it is estimated that there are over 5.5 trillion pieces of plastic currently in our global ocean and over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our seas each year.
This equates to one refuse truck FULL of plastic every minute. Pretty staggering.
Plus, over 300 million tons of new plastic are made every year – half of which is for single use plastic, such as packaging and convenience foods. With up to 80% of marine litter originating on land, much of the impact on our seas comes from these single use plastic items.
Plastics are also durable, strong and long-lasting – all positive elements until you realise that they will stay in our environment for up to an estimated 600 years. Convenience for us is certainly not convenience for our natural world.
So, every piece of plastic we have EVER made, unless incinerated, is still here, and it is estimated that if we carry on in this way, there could be more plastic than fish, by weight in our oceans by 2050. (Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2016)
Marine plastic leads to coastal / offshore dead zones, entanglement, death through ingestion, toxic transfer and, once degraded into microplastics, contamination of the food chain – including our own. We are literally eating our plastic that has ended up in our seas. The wonder material is turning on it’s creator.
So, replacing single use plastic with reusables should be a priority. Single use for a material that lasts centuries just does not make sense. That is why we have started the Plastic Free Pledge – and we all have a part to play…