Support legislation to curb plastic production and waste. Participate in (or organize) a beach or river cleanup. This constant flood (the equivalent of 136 billion jugs of milk per year, estimates a study published in the journal Science) represents a serious danger to marine life. Animals can get entangled in this garbage or ingest it because they mistake it for prey or because seawater has broken down plastic into tiny particles.
Plastic, of course, is especially problematic because it is not biodegradable and therefore stays much longer (up to 1000 years longer) than other forms of waste. And we're not just talking about people who throw their trash overboard. In reality, about 80 percent of marine litter originates from land washed up the coast or washed into rivers from streets during heavy rains through storm drains and sewer overflows. Every year, nearly 20 billion plastic bottles are thrown away.
Carry a reusable bottle in your bag and you'll never be caught having to resort to Poland Spring or Evian again. If you're concerned about the quality of your local tap water, look for a model with a built-in filter. Urge your elected officials to follow the example of those in San Francisco, Chicago and nearly 150 other cities and counties by introducing or supporting laws that make the use of plastic bags less desirable. We need to take control of the 10,000 tons of plastic that enter lakes every year, whether we recycle, reuse, or simply ban the material.
Scientists say the species could be functionally extinct in as little as 20 years, but there are some solutions within reach. Ongoing research on how plastic flows into the ocean and what happens when it arrives, often funded by non-profit organizations, is vital to finding long-term solutions. As for Pew, the next steps are to seek governments, companies and civil society to sign a joint statement on the prevention of plastic pollution in the oceans; working so that policy makers have more access to the findings of the report; and determining how the Trusts can best be positioned to help solve this problem. When done on a large scale, this creates a market for the recovery of plastic that goes to the ocean and also an opportunity for conversation and awareness.
However, he said, the report showed a credible way to stop the avalanche of plastic pollution in the ocean. Preserve is committed to reducing plastic in the oceans through its PopI program and by supporting the efforts of others doing this important work. If implemented, the projected generation of plastic waste could be reduced by almost a third through elimination, reuse and new delivery models, such as refillable packaging and product subscription services that collect and reuse packaging, and by another 17% by replacing plastic with paper and compostable materials. Waiting even five years would allow an additional 80 million metric tons of plastic to enter the ocean.
While communities around the world have already begun to ban plastic shopping bags and restaurants are giving up plastic straws, these efforts are not enough, according to the report. Fishing nets are mixed with bottle caps, plastic bags and soda bottles, while hungry shorebirds eat plastic instead of crabs. Before the in-depth research that underpins the report, Stuchtey says, many of the proposals to address plastic pollution in the oceans were often “not reconciled, untested and unsubstantiated.”. For more than a decade, scientists have warned that humanity is leaving so much plastic in the natural environment that future archaeologists will be able to mark this era with the synthetic waste that was left behind, in short, the Age of Plastic.
The research revealed that the system change scenario would reduce the annual flow of plastic waste into the ocean by approximately 80% by 2040, and that action by government and industry leaders would drive much of the change. Discarded plastic fishing lines entangle turtles and seabirds, and pieces of plastic of all sizes drown and clog the stomachs of creatures that mistake them for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales. .