Plastics, built to last forever, our oceans wont…
What was once a marvel of creation, has slowly become our downfall. Our oceans are always changing, flowing like blood in our bodies, providing us a service of life which we should respect.
This oasis, comprising of rivers, lakes, estuaries, streams and other water sources are all part of a bigger picture, the rain cycle and eco system services that connect us with nature which we benefit from.
However, being a wildlife conservationist academically and personally as a lifestyle it is very hard for me to be shocked by the consequences of human cause and effect. I am always proven wrong however when I visit the same beach whenever I go to my favourite location in Scotland. I always see plastic on the beach, in rock pools but I like to think there is a silver lining to everything in life which I did see as some local children were picking up litter with their families.
- Plastic fishing
- Floating bin to gather litter, plastic micro pieces, in the sea
- River Irwell restoration, success, kingfishers returned
Human impact on terrestrial and marine natural resources results in marine and coastal damage. Population growth, urbanization, industrialization and tourism are all causes of this degradation.
In 1994, it was estimated that 37% of the global population lived within 60 km of the coast.
RIVER IRWELL RESTORATION –
Used this example, we can see that heavy damage can be repaired with time and effort. Until the earlier part of the 19th century, the river Irwell was a clean river flourishing with life for both people and animals. It also hosted fishing for salmon. It was a flag stone for Manchester’s economy vital for the industrial age. However, there was unnecessary consequence when all the industries polluted the river making it undrinkable and inhabitable for animals.
Plastics are transported all around the planet in the oceans via waves and currents. Wildlife are vulnerable to this, a very well used example of this would-be sea turtles. Some sea turtle species diets consist of mainly jelly fish, the nutrition content in jelly fish is poor due to being mostly water. This means they must eat tons of jelly fish. They have downward spikes formed of tissue that aid in swallowing the jellyfish, however with a bag this can be lethal.
Plastic pollution is being acted on but only with continued efforts our changes will make a big impact. We are already seeing that around the world and pressures on companies and food chains has seen places like McDonalds banning plastic straws is a huge step in the right direction.
Sir David Attenborough told us during Blue Planet 2 that ‘’we dump eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year’’.
What can we do to help?
Schemes like bottle deposits are a good start however we have been so reliant on plastics for years that we need to continue to do more to wean ourselves from plastics. Businesses need to be taken more seriously as some are already, some super markets have introduced plastic free aisles which is incredible.
- Use BPA approved bottles, Nalgene are a very impressive supplied of these bottles.
- Bring your own plastic bottles – Saves money and you can use it as much as you want
- Use sporks
- Say no to plastic straws and cling film and much mor
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