“It’s not as complicated as everyone seems to pretend it is…“
Melati (16 years) and Isabel (14 years) Weijsen have managed to ban the use of plastic bags on Bali. They and their Bye Bye Plastic Bags organisation are demonstrating how all of us can be useful and stand for the oceans.
Paddlers, surfers, and lovers of all things water know best that the ocean connects us all. But they also know the sad reality that is the state of our aquatic ecosystems today. They experience firsthand the trash that collects on our shorelines, strangles our sea life, and pollutes the waters we love. The greatest of these offenders is disposable plastic that is thrown away after a single use.
Every year we throw out enough plastic to circle the earth 4 times. The devastating truth is that much of our plastic waste is not recycled or even sent to landfills. A significant amount of the plastic we dispose of makes it way into our nature, corrupting various ecosystems. Up to 46% of the planet’s plastic debris has contaminated our oceans, covering about 40% of the ocean surface. This is disastrous for marine life – killing over one million sea birds and hundred thousand sea mammals annually. By 2050, scientists predict – with good reason – that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Plastic never decomposes; it just degrades into smaller pieces of plastics, which are popularly mistaken for food by sea creatures. Consider this the next time you have fish for dinner – because it might be served with a side of plastic. Particulate plastic also threatens the marine plants, which creates 70% of the oxygen we breathe. Aqua’s 1997 hit Barbie Girl says it best: “Life in plastics, it’s fantastic”– not if you like breathing.
We are drowning in a world of single-use plastic, killing our planet and us with it. It is a pest that is infesting our home, and if we don’t change the way we treat Earth and kick our plastic habits soon – we will pass a point of no return.
For more information, head over to Starboard Blue.