Decluttering our oceans one step at a time

Recent research, published February 2017 in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, has found increased ingestion of plastic in the White-chinned Petrel in Brazil. Scientists predict this increased ingestion is likely to increase if plastic pollution isn’t reduced now. These birds aren’t the only marine organisms effected by plastic waste on a daily basis.

So I’ve put together a list of little things YOU can do to reduce the amount of plastic we use and then dump into our seas.

  • Stop using plastic – avoid plastic bags, water bottles, styrofoam cups and straws, pre packaged fruit and veg,  as well as microbeads.
  • Reuse plastic bottles or buy a reusable one
  • Break up your 6-pack plastic rings – many mammals, turtles and sea birds get stuck in these
  • Recycle as much as you can – check out sky’s new bottle deposit scheme
  • Take a reusable bag to the supermarket – don’t buy plastic bags. Since the enforcement of the plastic bag charge in the UK, there has been an 80% reduction in the number of bags given out in supermarkets
  • Use bee’s wax wrap or Tupperware containers instead of cling film
  • Raise the plastic soup idea with friends and colleagues
  • Avoid personal care products (i.e. scrubs) that contain plastic – microbeads end up in the ocean via the wastewater systems. Check your bathroom and see if your personal care products contain plastic: Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP) en Polyethylene terephtalate (PET), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), nylon12.
  • Volunteer for a beach clean with surfers against sewage 
  • Download the app Beat the Microbead! to scan your products to see if they contain microplastics
  • Invest in a metal lighter rather than a plastic one – plastic disposable lighters are one of the most common plastics found in sea birdsalbatross_plastic_lighter
  • Read Beth Terry’s 100 ways to be plastic free 

 

Sources:

  • Petry, M.V. and Benemann, V.R.F. (2017) ‘Ingestion of marine debris by the White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis): Is it increasing over time off southern brazil?’, Marine Pollution Bulletin, . doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.073.
  • UM recycling (2012) Available at: http://mrecycle.blogspot.co.uk/2013_08_01_archive.html (Accessed: 10 February 2017).
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
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