One of these options blindly buys things in plastic packaging or places things in plastic bags that get tossed into rubbish, left on beaches or anywhere really. The other blindly eats plastic bags because it thinks the bags are its favourite food, jelly fish. After that, one starves to death because its stomach is so clogged up with plastic bags it can't digest and the other will eventually starve to death if it keeps pumping plastic into the ocean, killing the wildlife & their habitat. The other goes about their life completely oblivious to the havoc they may be wreaking.Around the world each year, many whales die with stomachs full of plastic. The image below is a Pilot Whale in Thailand who finally died after ingesting over 80 plastic bags, weighing 8kg. Whatever you feel, think or say about the environment, the inhumanity of this whale's death would make anyone cry. BACK ON LAND, WE'D BE IN COURT IN A HEART BEAT IF A DOG WAS FED PLASTIC BAGS. BUT FOR WHALES, NO ONE SEES. WITH A STOMACH STUFFED FULL OF THE INDIGESTIBLE PLASTICS IN THE IMAGE BELOW, WHALES SLOWLY STARVE TO DEATH IN INCREDIBLE PAIN. AND THE SAME SCENARIO IS PLAYING OUT ACROSS OUR OCEANS EVERY DAY. The Thai government says that Thailand is one of the biggest polluters in the world (number 6 on the graph below), dumping over 1 million tons of garbage into the sea each year. They know that over 300 whales, turtles and dolphins die from eating plastic each year in Thailand alone. Plastic simply kills marine life, destroying ocean habitats, which eventually cease to be food bowls. (For perspective, if Thailand is pumping over 1 million tons a year into the oceans. How much does that multiply out to globally? This graph from Ocean Crusaders gives you some idea. A LOT.It's pretty clear how we are headed to oceans with more plastic than fish by 2050.While we are all now paying more attention, ocean plastic pollution is a true global problem, and not a new one. This time in 2016, 13 magnificent sperm whales (2 below) washed up dead in Germany - all full of plastic. Before anyone gets too smug about how much better our own country is, we are dumping a pile of plastic into the ocean as well. Plastic bags, packaging, microbeads, straws - and much of it, stuff we don't even need in the first place. Is a little bit of fast comfort really worth killing for?The problem with ocean plastics is that it isn't just visible plastics. With trillions of particles of microplastics also in the ocean being eaten by plankton and finding their way into the food chain, we are all victims of our own waste.Times are changing around the world with many cities like San Francisco outlawing the sale of plastic bottles, in Australia with most states banning single use plastic bags in June 2018. Local governments like Brisbane have banned the sale of plastic straws, drinks and helium balloons from any of their venues.And we can all make a difference so easily with very little effort. From what we buy our food in, through how we carry it and then how we dispose of it. Please consider your plastic decisions. Images: Unsplash - Tiphaine | Thailand's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources
It just makes me so sad but thank you Ekko for the way you shed light on these topics with an easy solutions focus - and the perfect dose of good humour so we can rethink our own behaviour and take responsibility for our own actions.
Wednesday, 16 January 2019