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The great big plastic problem

Every year we pollute the oceans with increasing amounts of manmade debris such as plastic bags, plastic packaging, and plastic bottles.

Do you remember the sperm whales who stranded in the North Sea early in 2016? Four of them had stomachs full of rubbish, including plastics, fishing nets and even a plastic car engine cover. A healthy planet needs healthy whales and healthy whales need clean seas.

All this plastic poses a threat to our own health, the environment, and to whales, dolphins and porpoises.

How so?

Whales and dolphins swallow plastic debris (like water bottles) floating in the ocean. It can cause painful internal injuries that can prove fatal. Ingested plastic can also poison whales’ and dolphins’ bodies with toxic chemicals.

Plastics never biodegrade, they just become smaller pieces of plastic. These microplastics are ingested by fish and plankton and end up in the bellies of the whales and dolphins who feed on them. It can even end up inside us!

Plastic statistics:

  • 35.8 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK*
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles a year**
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating mass of plastic off the coast of California and is twice the size of Texas with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one**

Check out this video from WDC partner, SodaStream highlighting the problem (WARNING - contains swearing/offensive language).

What can I do?

It’s easy to think you are not part of the problem. But if we each make simple lifestyle changes, we can make a big difference.

One of the simplest things you can do is follow SodaStream’s advice and stop using disposable plastic bottles.

  • Get yourself a reusable water bottle and coffee cup
  • If you drink fizzy water, carbonate it yourself
  • Refuse plastic straws
  • Don’t buy products containing microbeads

Plastic in the ocean - how can you help.
Plastic in the ocean - how can you help.