How to help save the ocean in seven easy steps

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How to help save the ocean in seven easy steps

Photo by Jonathan Chng

Did you know that every piece of plastic produced still exists to this day?

Humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic per year and sadly, it takes 400 years to degrade. You don’t have to be well-versed in mathematics to realise something doesn’t quite add up or, rather, adds up far too much. Although we do try to dispose of plastic, some inevitably passes through gutters, drains and rivers, with its final destination our beloved sea. Once plastic is in the ocean, it begins to break down into tiny pieces less than 5 millimetres long, called micro-plastics. But don’t be fooled by their size, micro-plastics are inversely proportionate to their propensity for damage.

Our ocean is a delicate ecosystem and supports the life of corals, plants, fish and mammals. It’s also a food source to most parts of the world. Recklessness aside, the silver lining is that we can change how much plastic we use and how many times we use it.

If we continue our current habits, we’re predicted to have more plastic than fi sh in the world’s oceans by 2050. We’ve all seen those horrible images of marine animals entangled in our waste, but did you know one third of all animals have been entangled in this way too? Or that marine animals, including birds, are starting to ingest micro-plastics, with the result that they can no longer break down their food, resulting in premature deaths?

With the global production of plastic exponentially rising, it’s time we all became a little more mindful of our waste. Here are seven easy steps on how to do so:

  • Recycle and reuse whenever you can. Plastic bags have an average lifespan of 15 minutes. It’s time to ban the bag.
  • Addicted to coffee? Buy a reusable mug that you can use each day to avoid going through dozens of coffee cups.
  • It takes six times more water to produce plastic water bottles and it’s a hundred times more expensive than tap water. Buy a water bottle, or better yet, buy one that doubles as a thermos so you can carry around hot beverages too.
  • Ordering takeaway? Insist on an alternative to plastic, there’s no harm in asking.
  • Look into cling wrap alternatives, like paper bags and beeswax covers.
  • Spread the word among your family, coworkers and friends.
  • You may have missed #plasticfreejuly but it’s not too late for a plastic-free month.