Plastic Free July - How we're helping make a difference

Written by
February 22, 2024
4 min read

The world's oceans, covering over 70% of the Earth's surface, are under severe threat due to the escalating problem of ocean plastic pollution. Plastic debris has become a global crisis, posing a significant threat to marine ecosystems, wildlife, and even human health. In this SKOOT blog, we will explore the harmful impacts of ocean plastic and present effective ways to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans:

  1. The causes of Ocean Plastic
  2. The impact of Plastic Pollution
  3. How we can reduce plastic pollution

The causes of ocean pollution

Ocean pollution largely comes from the land as household and commercial waste is not properly discarded and recycled and washes out to sea in rainwater, floods or through rivers. This is seen particularly with plastic and single-use items which find their way into waterways and eventually make their way to the ocean, these single-use items then break down into microplastics which are extremely harmful to marine life. 

Industrial work also generates a large amount of ocean pollution activities such as mining and drilling releasing a range of pollutants into the oceans, it is usually hazardous substances which are released and this endangers marine life. 

Image of ocean pollution

Marine debris and improper fishing habits also contribute to ocean pollution, discarded fishing gear, abandoned vessels and oil spills are common and pose a threat to fragile habitats like coral reefs.

Image of marine life affected by plastic pollution

The impact of plastic pollution

Whilst the causes of ocean pollution are clear the devastating impacts are perhaps less obvious to distinguish so here are some alarming statistics of the impact of plastic pollution. 

  • It is estimated that over 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans every year, equivalent to a garbage truck's worth of plastic being dumped into the sea every minute
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest accumulation of ocean plastic, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas, with microplastics outnumbering plankton by a ratio of 6 to 1.
  • Approximately 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, along with countless seabirds and fish, die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic waste.
  • Microplastics have been found in seafood, such as fish, shellfish, and molluscs, consumed by humans. It is estimated that an average seafood consumer could ingest up to 11,000 microplastic particles per year.
  • 1 million seabirds are estimated to die each year from ocean pollution 
  • Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, their main food source, leading to ingestion and potentially fatal consequences
  • Approximately 75% of the world's coral reefs are considered threatened, with pollution being one of the significant contributors. Plastic debris can smother coral, block sunlight, and hinder their growth
Image of single-use plastics

How we can reduce plastic pollution

Whilst the impact of ocean pollution is alarming a lot can be done to slow down and even reverse the issues caused by ocean pollution

Here are some simple yet effective ways to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans

  1. Educate yourself and others: Share information about the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems through social media, organise awareness campaigns, and support organisations working to combat ocean plastic.
  2. Reduce single-use plastics: Opt for reusable alternatives like stainless steel water bottles, cloth shopping bags, and bamboo or metal straws. Avoid purchasing products with excessive plastic packaging and choose brands committed to sustainable packaging solutions.
  3. Proper waste disposal and recycling: Dispose of plastic waste responsibly, ensuring it ends up in recycling bins or designated waste management systems. Participate in beach cleanups and community efforts if you live on the coast.
Image of sustainable alternatives to plastic, Image of recycling efforts

The issue of ocean plastic pollution demands immediate action and collective responsibility. By understanding the harmful consequences and implementing practical solutions, we can work towards protecting our oceans, marine life, and ultimately, our planet. Each individual's choices and efforts, combined with broader systemic changes, will make a significant difference in preserving the health and well-being of our oceans for future generations.

Together, let's combat ocean plastic pollution and create a cleaner and healthier environment for all.

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Written by
February 22, 2024
4 min read