Plastic Free July

Its July (already) and we are celebrating a plastic-free month! Going plastic-free has been on everybody’s lips recently as more and more we are facing our own mess. For all the evils of social media one of the best aspects is that we can spread awareness about issues facing us. Plastic is definitely an issue on the top of our list. Along with a series of posts, I am going to look into plastic and what the best way to tackle it is.

Why?

To really connect with an idea and stick to it we need to connect to the why. Why are you spending extra money on all these plastic free alternatives? Similarly, why do you need to remember to bring those reusable bags? Do you absolutely need to change your makeup brand to plastic free?

We all logically know that there is a problem with plastic but do we really know the full extent? Once you do, you can’t un-know what you know. Ultimately, the knowledge of the reality and enormity of the problem will from now on direct you to make better decisions.

Plastic is everywhere.

Plastic is cheap, durable and well, just easy. It’s accessible to everyone and almost everywhere. I have hiked in mountains in remote northern India and found piles of plastic alongside rivers. There seems to be no place that plastic has not reached.

The problem we are facing is that a lot of the world’s plastic is entering our oceans. if you have ever seen the great pacific garbage patch you will know what I am talking about.

  • It is estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastic debris are in the ocean.
  • About 100 million metric tons of plastic lie along the coastline.
  • The biggest problem is with mismanaged plastic waste.
  • More than half of the plastic waste in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is from the fishing industry.
  • About 100,000 marine animals die yearly from plastic waste entanglement. (the ones found)
  • About 1 million seabirds die from plastic each year.
  • 1 plastic bag can kill more than one animal. Animals get trapped in bags and die. The bags take so long to disintegrate that animals have time to decompose and trap another animal.
  • The no1 plastic spotted by sailors is plastic bags.
  • Plastic, depending on the quality can take up to 1000 years to break down. But even then, the plastic breaks down into microbeads that flow deeper into the ecosystems. It never goes away.
  • Plastic is having a disastrous effect on larger marine life. They unknowingly eat tons of plastic that ultimately poison and starves them.
  • On average, it takes only 4 family shopping trips to create 60 bags
  • Each day, on average, 13,000 to 15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean.
  • Most of the plastic that enters the ocean sinks to the bottom. So what we see on the top is a small fraction of what’s really going on.
  • 2/3 of fish have plastic ingestion.
  • 200 areas of the ocean are declared dead because of humans.
  • The Great Pacific Garnage Patch is one of 5 areas of our oceans that collect trash.

Who is polluting the most?

GPGP covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers

Well, does it really matter? In my experience talking to people about plastic waste or any problem, in fact, is that if it is a not right in their face or on their doorstep then they are not quite interested or feel any responsibility to deal with it.

As we would encourage our kids to take shared responsibility for the mess of the house, so too do we want to encourage the citizens of the world to take shared responsibility of the mess we are creating.

What we don’t need is finger pointing. We also don’t need the National divide of responsibility that is currently undermining any progress about sorting out the environmental crisis facing us.

Approach the situation with loving kindness and accept that yes, some countries are polluting more and others are recycling more. Instead of taking moral high grounds we should recognise the shared problem and look for ways to support each other. But unfortunately, the environment is a political trend used as a sales pitch for their ultimate end goal, winning. So is the real problem actually being addressed? Not really. It’s being sidelined between National finger pointing and popularity contests.

Us as the people must make louder noise. Let us instead encourage the citizens of China to take charge. Let’s stand with them and call on China to make meaningful changes. Governments should be sharing their technology, brainpower and resources to help them to address the problem in a sincere and concerned manner.

The source of plastic pollution may be more there or here but the problem is shared by all. The plastic breaks down into microbeads and filters into marine life, waterways and back into the earth. We are all victims of our own shared doing.

Together we can do it

The problem we are facing is pretty big. Pacific Garbage Patch big. Plastic is pouring into our oceans, landing along rivers and coastlines. We are slowly drowning in our own plastic pollution. But we can do it. If we all stand together, set clear priorities, we can rectify what we have done.

Ocean cleanup technology is developing at an amazing pace.

The human body, when given the right circumstances, can bounce back after a serious disease. The environment, given the right resources, can also bounce back. So lets band together for July and beyond to reduce our plastic footprint as far as possible.

Resources

Special thanks to Theresa, a young student doing her part to educate people around plastic pollution for contacting Dolma and offering us the resource “Guide to Marine Plastic Pollution”. At Dolma Fragarnces we love to support young people making the right choices for the planet. Thank you, Theresa, keep doing such a great job!

Stay Tuned

Its July Plastic Free month and Dolma is going to get down as deep as the deepest oceans into the topic. We will look into sources of pollution. Alternatives to everyday plastic use. Plastic free at home, work and school and finally, we will look into the recycling industry and whether it is as viable as we think.