It is unknown to a lot of people that the majority of garbage that is in our seas is originally streets trash that are washed down to the sea through storm water drains and rivers. Every year an estimated 6 million tonnes of rubbish enters the world’s oceans. This results in a lot of fish becoming contaminated and even extinct, as well as disrupted ecosystems. Three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans every year then the weight of fish caught in the same period of time.
One of the most common marine debris is plastic, which counts for about 60-80% of all marine debris and takes up to 1 000 years to break down. For example only in the U.S. 380 billion plastic bags are used every year. Less then 5 percent of these are recycled. For a glass bottle the time to decompose in the sea is about one million year. A whopping 2 million plastic bottles are used in the U.S. every 5 minutes. Most plastic containers never gets recycled into new containers, but instead to other products that can not be recycled.
When garbage enters the sea it can do both harm locally as well as travel far distances. There are also examples of garbage getting focused in specific areas because of ocean currents, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with more then 3 million tons of plastic. In several areas of the ocean the mass of plastic are several times more then the mass of plankton in the same area.
The annual plastic production are today over 150 times more then 60 years ago. The only ways to stop the pollution of our seas is to minimize the society’s use of plastic products, or to make people aware of the problem and that way change human behavior on a big scale.
Here are some easy tips of what you can do:
- Buy items with less packaging
- Reuse shopping bags
- Always use garbage bins, never leave trash (including cigarette butts) in the nature
- Don’t flush down items in your toilett
- If you see trash in the nature, specially in the sea, pick it up and throw it in a garbage bin
- Participate on the international ocean cleanup day on the 15’th of September