Microplastics in Our Oceans

7 Swaps You Can Make to Help the Environment and Reduce Plastic Waste in Our Oceans.

Coral

Quite a number of people have now been familiar with the pacific garbage patch, the “trash island” floating in the Pacific, but not many know the extent of damage that plastic trash brings into the environment, especially our oceans.

Plastic never biodegrades, instead it photodegrade (break into smaller and smaller pieces into microplastics). Whatever size they are, plastic trash with pollute our ecosystem. But the micro plastics are especially worrisome, they are so small that small marine animal mistake them for food, and even worse, these toxic plastics find their way into human diets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

From a Nat Geo article written by Sarrah Gibbons and Laura Parker in 2014, titled Striking Photos Reveal Plastic and Plankton Side-by-Side:

Microplastic is the result of plastic trash being broken down into seemingly invisible plastic particles by wear and UV light.

Microplastic, any piece of plastic that measures smaller than five millimeters, is found in all the world's oceans. It flows through inland rivers, and it reaches the deepest trenches in the ocean.

In 2017, one study revealed anchovies mistake plastic for food, possibly lured in by the scent of algae coating the garbage. As these small fish are consumed by larger fish higher up the food chain, scientists worry that they end up on our plate. A study published last October found microplastic is already present in 90 percent of table salt.”

 

Trash on Beach
Trash on Beach
Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 10.58.37 AM.pn

In this pair of images, sea-life (left) and plastic debris (right) are separated into distinct photographs. Both plankton and plastic were pulled from a 358-cubic meter sample of water in Hawaii that formed from converging currents called slicks. These often contain the highest concentration of small objects floating in the water.

Photograph by David Liittschwager
Photographed at a Temporary Field Laboratory, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Kailua Kona, HI

Image taken from nationalgeographic.com

Now that we know the problem, what solutions can we come up with to tackle this problem? Here’s a list of things that you may never thought of that you can do to make a difference (Yes! YOU can make a difference by changing simple things that you do everyday):

  1. Refuse Straws and BYO your own reusable straw

    • This is really not difficult at all. Many places now offer reusable straws (Amazon sells a few different ones, with a cleaner brush, for under $10). They are usually made of stainless-steel, but some of them are made of bamboo. If you need disposable ones (for a party maybe?), get the paper ones! Imagine how many plastic straws you potentially save from going into the landfill! Remember, if there’s no demand at all, they’ll stop supplying!

  2. Use bamboo toothbrush

    • Plastic toothbrushes is the TOP THREE offenders when it comes to accumulated and polluting plastic-trash. There are 50 millions lbs of plastic toothbrush trash ANNUALLY in  United States alone (not counting the rest of the world). This is a big PROBLEM. Where do they go after they are discarded? Well, nowhere really. Landfills mostly, but they don’t biodegrade, they’re just there, forever. What’s worse if when they somehow find their way to our oceans, hurting marine animal and then photodegrading, and eventually ended up in human food and water. These plastics are toxic to us. Replace your plastic toothbrush with biodegradable ones, you can find bamboo toothbrush online or on some retail shop almost everywhere now. Find one here shop.natboobrush.com, they are not only great for the environment, but also cleans your teeth thoroughly! Their ergonomic handle is designed for a comfortable grip  when brushing. Their activated-charcoal covered bristles whitens your teeth overtime. If you’d like to accelerate the whitening, you can order their toothpowder as well.

  3. Replace Dental Floss with biodegradable ones

    • You have quite a few different options with silk floss or cotton floss nowadays, although they are not yet ubiquitous. A quick search on Amazon will give you a list of compostable floss from $15 and up!

  4. Don’t buy balloons

    • Not many people are aware of this, but balloons are bad! It’s used one time, discarded, and then where does it go? Do you know what happens to balloons when you release them? Balloons wind up polluting nature and will negatively affect wildlife. Balloons are also a waste of Helium, a finite resource. Balloons can travel thousands of miles and pollute the most remote and pristine places. Also many of popped balloons resemble jellyfish, when they end up in the ocean, other sea creature may consume them, and that never end up well. Don’t buy them, don’t let those balloons go and check out @balloonsblow Instagram for more info.

  5. Use reusable glass water bottle and BYO Reusable Bag

    • This is so easy to do and I’ve seen many people done this already. Still, there are people who buy water by the plastic bottles! Where do you think those bottles go? Recycling is not enough. Buy a glass reusable water bottle. This way you’ll save on thousands of bottles per year. Plastic bag is another one of the top three worst plastic trash. It’s the culprit that tangles, chokes, and poisoned marine animals. It’s a sad and tragic reality that we have the power to change. So why not take action!

  6. Pack a zero waste lunch!

    • Instead of using a ziploc bag, or wrapping your sandwich in a plastic wrap, buy a reusable food container, or use beeswax wrapper that you can re-wash and reuse over and over again. Use stainless steel cutleries that you can use for decades, or if they must be disposable, use bamboo ones that can biodegrade when you don’t need them anymore. Ensure that there’s no non-compostable waste after you finish your lunch!

Baloons in water

Ballon in the ocean is often mistaken for jellyfish by sea creatures. It may be consumed and end up killing marine creatures.

Natboobrush

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Help reduce the accumulation of plastic toothbrush trash in our landfills and oceans.