A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2014 found that at least 88 percent of the Earth’s ocean surface is polluted with plastic debris. The results were based on 3,070 total ocean samples that were collected all around the globe, with the total amount of plastic in the open-ocean surface estimated to be between 7,000 and 35,000 tonnes. Yet staggering as this amount is, it only accounts for 1 percent of the total plastic that we have in the ocean. Millions of tonnes of plastic also pollute water below the surface.
“We can’t account for 99 percent of the plastic that we have in the ocean.” – Carlos Duarte, Professor of Biology at the University of Western Australia, participating researcher in the study (source)
By now, almost everyone is aware of how dire the plastic situation is. Whales have been showing up beached with stomachs full of plastic, and northeast of Hawaii, the ocean currents form a giant whirlpool of debris from around the Pacific, known as the North Pacific Gyre. It’s one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, comprising millions of square kilometres.
Today it’s better known as “The Great Garbage Patch,” an area the size of Queensland, Australia where there is approximately one million tonnes of plastic spread throughout the ocean.
The time to stop manufacturing plastic is now. We have so many biodegradable and sustainable alternatives to choose from, like hemp, and we don’t need to stand by the old ways of doing things. Laws can change, and habits can change.
One company that has decided to change their ways is a Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida.
Source (We Believers)
They’ve created edible six-pack rings that feed, rather than kill, marine life. Created from beer by-products, they are completely safe for fish to eat and do not pose the usual choking hazards.
The rings are completely biodegradable and compostable, and, according to the Huffington Post:
The brand says that the innovative design is as resistant and efficient as plastic packaging. The only drawback is that edible six-pack rings are more expensive to produce. But the company hopes that customers will be willing to pay a little more in order to help the environment and animal life.
They also cited a report that was published in the journal PNAS, which determined that approximately 90 percent of seabirds have eaten plastic, which remains in their gut and ultimately leads to their death.
This is a wonderful example of a business making a positive shift, but we need to see this happening more often and on a greater scale. Our world needs drastic change in all areas of life, from medicine and industry to education, finances, and more. We are in need of a complete overhaul and the growing awareness and general consensus among many millions, if not billions, of people is that it’s time for change for the sake of all life on the planet. Earth doesn’t need us to survive, we need it, and our window of opportunity won’t remain open forever.
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