Our friends under the sea are suffering severely, thanks to our careless dismissal of plastic.
There are tireless occasions where we are held responsible for our offhand actions, in particular for whales that have been found dead with innards full of inedible contents.
In 2011, a dead sperm whale was found floating dead in Mykonos and an investigation of its insides revealed 100 plastic bags amongst other plastic debris.
In 2016, 29 sperm whales were found dead on the North Sea shores of Germany, many of which had stomachs full of plastic debris (note, I did indeed mean plural stomachs, sperm whales have four of them!).
Most recently, June 2018 involved a five day rescue attempt to revive a pilot whale that had consumed 80 plastic bags, weighing 8kg.
The intake of so much plastic comes from mistaking it for a viable food source. When their stomach is full of inedible content, it tricks the organ into thinking it is satisfied and food not needed.
The dangers to the oceanic ecosystem are unquestionable and we can’t measure how widespread the problem is, as the marine environment is beyond our capacity to monitor. But could the inability to calculate the death toll threaten an entire species?
July marks a month dedicated to being ‘plastic free’ and July 3 marked the first day of Coles and Woolworths banning single use bags from Western Australia and New South Wales, in line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
ABC asked their audience how they are feeling about coping in a brave new world without plastic bags. The response from 765 people was very favourable with 85.2 per cent saying it’s been great, only 14.4 per cent saying it has sucked and just 3 people saying they weren’t bothered.
Unfortunately retail staff have been abused by customers unhappy with the ban.
The main concerns involve not feeling that it is a better option because not everyone will reuse the “reusable” bags and they will all eventually end up in landfill and our waterways.
Surprisingly, the biggest issue is wondering how to cope without them? Especially when considering what to line bins with, when the supply of plastic bags disappears.
Never fear, the people of ABC Radio Perth are here to help and let us know how a bin-bag-free future is possible. Basically, you don’t need to line your bin!
Take a look into how the alternatives are measured compared to single use plastic bags.
The Gaia team is enormously dedicated to increasing awareness on how we can take methods to reduce our waste pollution and it has rubbed off on me. There is a little collection of green bags waiting by the door, to pick up on the way out for groceries. The boot of my car always has backups just in case.
We all have a role to play in the fight against plastic and little things like using reusable bags count, as Dr. Jane Goodall reminds us,
“Every single individual makes some impact on the environment every single day and we have a choice as to what kind of impact we make.”
12 year old inventor, Anna Du, is showing us up and inventing a robot that can move through the ocean identifying plastic. One day it might even collect it as well.
The difference you can make when visiting the beach,
Take a look into what the team would like to pass on,
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