We've blogged about the dangers of plastic in our world's oceans many times before, but a recent article reminded us of how very damaging and toxic plastic rubbish in our waters truly is...not only for the marine ecosystem and the natural environment, but also directly for us as human beings. This article reminds us that humans generate more than 300 million tons of plastic annually and about half of that plastic is used only once and discarded, much of which eventually makes its way into our oceans and waterways.
Estimates indicate that as of the year 2015, upwards of 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world's oceans each year, which is essentially equal to a dump truck full of plastic every minute. This frightening amount of plastic has led one scientist to estimate that folks who eat average amounts of seafood are ingesting around 11,000 plastic particles each year. Disgusting...and easily believable.
When you think about all the tiny plastic particles that are swimming around in our oceans, such as in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and how easily fish of all types and sizes must be consuming these plastic particles on a daily basis, it's only natural that the plastic nanoparticles remain in the fish we eat after being caught and prepped for human consumption.
This is NOT a call to action for us to all stop eating seafood. Rather, it IS a call to action for us to stop buying and using plastic! Although it's hard in our modern day to avoid plastic 100% of the time, reducing our plastic usage is not only possible but imperative. There's no reason for anyone not to use a reusable water bottle. There's no reason not to invest in resuable cloth snack and lunch sacks. There's no reason not to bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store with you each time you shop. These are such easy solutions and so crucial for the natural environment, the sea creatures of our planet, and all of us as human beings!
As always, reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve. Small, everyday changes can make a huge difference.