How Clean Are Our Oceans?
Our oceans may look beautiful from the comfort of a beach resort, or from the images we see in glossy travel brochures.But they are far from clean. Over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently pollute our oceans, killing over one million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals every single year.
The figures are shocking to say the least and making up 90% of all the trash floating in our seas, plastic is definitely one of the biggest problems we have today.
“The ocean is full of waste because humans have disposed of it carelessly. – Professor Andrew Holmes, University of Melbourne.
According to Professor Holmes, everyday plastics that we use in everything from our computers, keyboards and mobile phones to the packaging on our lunchtime sandwiches are creating a major environmental issue. He shared with ABC news that a shocking 8 million tonnes of plastic waste was recorded to have entered the oceans in 2010 according to online journal, Science.
Starting with Education
In order to preserve our oceans for generations to come, educating the world about plastic pollution is essential. It’s important to eliminate the use of plastics in the home, in the workplace and for brands and businesses to take responsibility with product packaging.
Teaching children about the Three Rs of Recycling (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) is also an important step in helping to minimise the amount of waste we create and put into our oceans in the future. And it should start from an early age, with schools incorporating environmentalism in their curriculums.
The use of books or environmental themed games can help to build an understanding from as early as possible.
Ocean Cleanup Efforts
Boyan Slat’s The Ocean Clean up aims to create the biggest ocean clean up in history, designing unique and advanced technologies to get rid of all the plastic waste floating around in our waters. The system uses ocean currents to its advantage with a large V-shaped sea anchor which collects and extracts plastic before shipping it back to land for proper disposal.
The company will start clearing out the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2018, and with the full scale deployment that it proposed, it estimates a total clean up within five years of operation.
Other inventions that are helping to clean our oceans include the SeaBin, which was created by Australian surfers as a solution to suck plastic debris right out of the water. The bucket also features an oil/water filter to pull oil out of the sea. As well as British start up company, Recycling Technologies latest development, which is a machine that can turn plastic waste into a fuel called Plaxx.
Whilst all these efforts will make a big difference to ocean cleanliness, real sustainable change needs to come from the root of the problem. And that means that everyone, including brands and consumers, need to be more responsible with the way we use, buy and dispose of plastic waste.
To find out more about responsible plastic recycling, visit Recycleyourplastics.org.