Researchers in China reveal evidences of small particles of plastic in table salt. As salt is obviously a product from the sea. It has concerned environmentalists and scientist on how extensive the plastic waste problem has become. It’s not news that vast amounts of plastic waste are carried into the marine environment. In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day (Hasselberger 2014). In simpler words, the total amount of plastic thrown every year can circle the earth 4 times. Yes, that’s 160,300 kms of plastic a year. Agricultural practices, coastal tourism, port and harbour developments, damming of rivers, urban development and construction, mining, fisheries, aquaculture, and manufacturing, among others, are all sources of marine pollution threatening coastal and marine habitats. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one. Once the plastics are discarded, they are weathered and eroded into very small fragments known as micro-plastics. Researchers found 1,500 and 1.7 million of these particles per square mile. (Hasselberger 2014) Over 1 million seabirds and marine mammals are killed annually by consuming plastic annually. (Good 2016)
HOW TO HELP?
Even though it is impossible sometimes to totally avoid plastics. The solution is to rise above plastics. Kick off plastic bags in favour of cloth bags and glass reusable bottles. Everyday items like sandwich bags, juice cartons can be replaced by reusable lunch boxes and to go coffee mugs. In unavoidable situations, choose the right plastics like #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE) which can be recycled. Go digital and reduce plastics like DVDs, CDs, cases etc. Synthetic fabrics are made of plastics, which can harm the human body and the marine environment. Boyan Slat, a teenger proposes a scheme on how oceans can clean themselves with a small level of investment. A link to the TED Talk can be found here.
There are great ways to replace plastic products with ecofriendly and reusable options out there. A change in lifestyle and habits can massively create a larger and positive impact to reduce plastic pollution. So the next time be careful while throwing your garbage, as it may come back to you as salt!