You’ll probably have noticed a change throughout stores and restaurants recently regarding the use of plastics: fast-food restaurants are replacing their usual straws for paper, coffee shops are promoting re-usable cups for a small saving on your favourite beverages and brands are coming out with compact versions of their old packaging. Although we’ve become familiar with these changes, many of us aren’t aware of the huge impact that cutting our waste has on the environment.
The consequences of our lack of action in reducing waste in the past was observed by the directer of ‘Albatross’, a film showing us the emotional lives of Albatrosses, their suffering and cycle of life. On his first visit, Directer Chris Jordan found thousands of dead Albatrosses on the ground with their stomachs full of plastic. From this point on, he created the film project to bring awareness to the damage and pain our waste can cause.
By 2050 it’s estimated that 99% of all seabirds will have consumed plastic due to the eight million tonnes of waste going into the ocean each year, killing many young animals. In fact over 180 different species of animals have ingested plastics. Not only does plastic puncture their organs and block their throats, it also released toxic chemicals into their bodies. Think about that the next time you eat seafood.
Plastics are taking over our oceans so quickly that in 30 years time, there is expected to be more plastic than fish in the waters. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is home to most of our floating waste, holding approximately 80,000 tonnes of plastic – equivalent to 500 Jumbo Jets. The overwhelming waste leaves no choice for marine animals but to consume plastics. It was found that 74% of a turtle’s diet in this area was made up of plastic debris.
While we can’t do much about getting rid of the waste littering our oceans, we can certainly make an end to its takeover. So what can you do to help?
The most simple ways of making a difference are by being thoughtful of your plastic usage. Switch plastic straws for steel or glass or even say no altogether. Use reusable boxes and wraps for your lunches, opt for unpackaged fruit and vegetables at your local supermarket. These simple changes are easy to implement in every day life and will make a wave of difference to our oceans.
You can also support campaigns and rescue teams that are working and researching to save endangered marine life, such as Sky Ocean Rescue who strive to eliminate single-use plastics by 2020. They’re also working with WWF to protect and restore oceans for the safety of animals. You can even donate to the Albatross project to spread awareness of the destruction plastics can cause.
Want to see the damages for yourself? ‘Albatross’ will be screening at the Gulkenian Theatre on Wednesday 26th September at 6:30pm with a post-screening discussion to spread awareness and bring you information to help kickstart your change to re-using and recycling.