Whether or not you have seen these two horrific pictures of marine pollution that have gone viral recently, your first reaction will no doubt have been similar to ours. First horror, and then a pang of guilt, because whether we like to admit it or not, we are responsible, collectively, for the eight million tonnes of plastic that enters the world’s oceans each year. Eight million tonnes – that’s equivalent to the weight of five hundred thousand double decker buses. There is supposedly an island floating in the Pacific Ocean between Japan and California in that is twice the size of Texas made up entirely of discarded waste. Not only this, but a recent report by the Telegraph has warned that by 2050 if the current rate of rubbish entering the oceans continues the number of plastics will outweigh the number of fish. This is an issue that can’t be ignored. Even if you aren’t worried about the animals that are affected by marine pollution, which you should be, doesn’t it concern you that we are eating the fish that are consuming toxic pollutants?
So, how can you help reduce marine pollution in your day to day lives? You can start by reducing the number of single use plastic items by reusing old plastic bags, bottles and containers. When shopping watch out for toiletries that contain microbeads, which are tiny plastic balls that can slip through rubbish filters and make their way to the sea and eventually into the stomach of fish. Some of you, no doubt live by the sea and you can dramatically improve the rubbish in your coastal area by picking up any litter you may see. It may not feel like much but if everyone picked up rubbish and used less plastics it would dramatically improve the oceanic ecosystem.