Five things YOU can do to reduce the impact of plastic on marine life
Friday, 01 July 2011
We recently enjoyed a rare sunny afternoon playing at the beach. Little Eco danced, made sand angels, and we all joined in some beach art, creating art from the plastic that littered the beach.
I was truly surprised by just how much plastic littered the beach. The above plastic was collected within only a few minutes while wandering less than ten metres.
I was reminded of all that plastic this week by a news story about a dead sea turtle found washed up on a beach in northern NSW. This poor turtle likely starved to death after more than 300 pieces of plastic it swallowed caused its digestive system to shut down. Rochelle Ferris, spokeswoman for Australian Seabird Rescue, said she was aware of 40 to 50 cases of turtles suffering from plastic ingestion each year. And that’s along only 250 km of coastline. “…imagine how many turtles are dying long, slow deaths across the country where there is no help."
I’ll be honest, I sometimes find it easy to disconnect from stories of environmental destruction. They break my heart, but often I don’t connect my life with the destruction. Like the chicks at Midway Attol, turtles in Morton Bay, or this poor turtle in northern NSW. I subconsciously tell myself that these deaths are happening elsewhere, not in my backyard. But our moment of beach play made it clear to me that the rubbish from my street contributes to the problem. Despite living kilometres from the ocean, the rubbish from my street ultimately ends up in the ocean, unless it’s trapped by one of the few pollutant traps along the way.
It is likely that the rubbish from your street (no matter how far you live from the ocean) ultimately ends up there too. The gutter out the front of your house probably drains into a small creek, from where it travels down increasingly larger creeks, perhaps via a river, until it ultimately reaches the ocean. We’re all part of the problem.
The five simple things you can do:
1. Donate to Australian Seabird Rescue
2. Take three pieces of rubbish when you leave the beach
3. Join in Clean up Australia Day
4. Say no to plastic bags
5. Stop buying bottled water
Ending on a happier note, I hope you have a lovely weekend. This weekend, inspired by Gina of Clutterpunk and Fiona of Inner Pickle, I hope to spend a moment with my ‘to mend’ pile. I’m determined to mend one item per week until the ridiculously huge pile is gone. I was also reminded this week by Julie of Go Greener Oz to consider hiring before buying. It’s amazing what you can hire these days. For more of what has inspired me recently, head on over to the Little Eco Footprints Inspiring Reads page. What’s inspired you recently? And don’t forget to enter the Biome giveaway if you haven’t already. Entries close Monday.