Plastic pollution is most probably one of the greatest and most daunting direct consequence of our modern societies model where consumption often means ‘wrapped in some plastic’ or ‘made of plastic’.
Think about the milk bottle you buy in your supermarket or that cucumber from the vegetables stall – one is contained in a plastic bottle whilst the other one is wrapped up in a plastic film.
As just explained above, our modern lives often means using plastic one way of another (although there are ways to reduce this dramatically).
Plastic which for most of it – 91% in fact, will not get recycled (Source: National Geographic) so where does it end up?
Landfills or in our oceans.
We will look at what that means for the latter – our seas and oceans
The journeys of plastic into the ocean
Before going any further, let’s understand how plastic ends up in our oceans.
I included below some infographic about the topic from the NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)
Fishing nets can become marine debris when lost or abandoned
Littering helped by rain & winds
The can of that fizzy drink you threw on the floor may well be swept by rain or winds and end up in nearby waterbodies. Stream & storm drains can also carry debris straight into seas or oceans.
Industries out there are also to blame for some plastic getting into the environment, either when products containing plastic aren’t disposed of properly, or escaping during the production and or transporting of products.
Microplastics or microbeads
These tiny plastic particles are in some of your personal care and cosmetic products and get washed directly down the drain. We are talking about face scrubs, shower gels or toothpaste.
Fortunately, this issue was highlighted recently and countries such as the UK has banned a large number of products containing these microbeads (Source: Greenpeace)