There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way. Every day people choose to ignore the reality of the situation, they do not believe one person such as themselves can make a change big enough to make a difference, and it is this type of mentality that has lead us to this critical point. Each day as billions of people wake up and go to work, 8 million tonnes of plastic are being poured into the ocean. Each minute one million plastic bottles are thrown away; in the same amount of time it takes to make your bed, water your plants or sort out the recycling. It is not only damaging to the environment, but the wildlife living there; sea creatures from small fish to whales become entangled in plastic fishing wires, can loops and various other hazardous objects, they can mistake the litter for food causing choking and impalation from inside the stomach. Sea birds bring home pieces of plastic waste to feed to their young, and to themselves. These incidents can be, and are, fatal.
For those people who believe this is not directly affecting them, think again. It is now shown that 1 in 3 fish caught and consumed contain plastic- we now have to answer the question: how bad is this for our health? Moreover, toxic chemicals seep out of the plastic once it reaches the sea – these chemicals have been linked to certain forms of cancer which become increasingly powerful and dangerous as they make their way up the food web.
So what can you do?: Take part in a beach clean, seeing as there are approximately 5000 pieces of plastic debris per mile of UK beach, the more volunteers the merrier; boycott single-use plastics and products containing microplastics (or unnecessary amounts of it) by buying packaged fruit and veg from a local supplier or farm shop, or just leaving your plastic at the store- send a message! Furthermore, do the little things- like recycle! Make sure you aren’t throwing away any recyclable objects, and start or sign a petition to ban single-use plastics in supermarkets, production factories and other suppliers. It is so simple and if enough people step up to do their bit, we can put an end to the plastic crisis.