The Great Big Plastic ProblemEvery year we pollute the oceans with increasing amounts of plastic including plastic bags, plastic packaging, and plastic bottles.
Do you remember the sperm whales who stranded in the North Sea early in 2016? Four of them had stomachs full of rubbish, including plastics, fishing nets and even a plastic car engine cover. A healthy planet needs healthy whales and healthy whales need clean seas.
All this plastic poses a threat to our own health, the environment, andto whales, dolphins and porpoises.
WHY IS THIS?
Whales and dolphins swallow plastic debris (like water bottles) floating in the ocean. It can cause painful internal injuries that can prove fatal. Ingested plastic can also poison whales’ and dolphins’ bodies with toxic chemicals.
Plastics never biodegrade, they just become smaller pieces of plastic.These microplastics are ingested by fish and plankton and end up in the bellies of the whales and dolphins who feed on them. It can even end up inside us!
- Plastic bags are the most common type of litter found in the stomachs of whales and dolphins
- 35.8 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK*
- Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles a year**
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating mass of plastic off the coast of California and is twice the size of Texas with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one**
WHAT CAN I DO?
It’s easy to think you are not part of the problem. But if we each make simple lifestyle changes, we can make a big difference. One of the simplest things you can do is stop using disposable plastic bottles, cups, and bags.
- Use reusable water bottles and coffee cups
- Take your own reusable bags shopping rather than buying plastic bags
- If you drink fizzy water, you can buy a simple machine to make your own water fizzy
- Say no to plastic straws
- Use biodegradable wet wipes
- Don’t buy products such as face scrub and shampoo containing microbeads