• Travel Savvy Guide

A Plastic Ocean

Plastic fantastic ay?

Today i’m going to be talking about the very hot topic of plastic! We could essentially say, plastic plastic everywhere not a drop to drink? Plastic microbes have now been found in bottled water! What the f**K, in treated ‘clean’ bottled water!


Lets start by saying this is an appeal to your travel side, what do you enjoy most about holidays? Is it swimming in the crystal clear ocean blue water? Snorkelling around and observing the wonderful and mysterious world under the surface? Seeing dolphins surfing the waves on the beach. Is seeing whales on your bucket list? Ever witnessed bioluminescence and phosphorescence?

With the ocean making up 70.9% of the earth’s surface its a pretty magnificent thing.

I don’t know about now, but in 2000 it was estimated that 95% of the worlds ocean and 99% of the ocean floor remains unexplored.

(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

“We invest a lot of money and enthusiasm for missions to space - but there’s nothing living out there. The seabed is teething with life. We really need a mission to planet ocean- it’s the last frontier.” Edward Hill from the UK National Oceanography Centre.

Plastic has been found in the air, land, sea and therefore enters the human body via the food we eat, water we drink and the air we breath. We actually eat at least 50,000 plastic particles a year. Damian Carrington.

So what’s the deal? 8.3 tonnes of plastic has been made since its mass production started in the 1950’s, an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year.

Why? Well it’s low cost to produce and very durable, in fact plastic doesn’t break down, it just ‘breaks up’ into smaller and smaller pieces creating micro-plastics and nano-plastics.

Meaning that the saying ‘water water every where not a drop to drink’, is becoming ever more relevant.

Sadly many animals ingest it believing it to be a food source.

Thousands of animals are dying because of the consumption of plastic. Sea turtles are primarily visual predators and choose food by its size, shape and colour. In a study on green turtles they examined 19 turtles and plastic was found in all of them, one has 183 articles of plastic in its stomach. Leatherback turtles eat plastic that looks like jellyfish and green tulles are eating plastic which looks like their diet of sea grass, black bin bags, fragments of fishing rope and carrier bags. Smaller turtles tend to ingest more plastic, possibly because they were ‘less experiences’ and so ‘more likely to eat the wrong food’.

Many species of whale use echolocation (using sound to identify and locate objects) to hunt. A lot of whales travel to a depth of three kilometres or more to feed. When they’re that deep in the ocean it’s pitch back and the echolocation is essential to identify their food sources. Moreover, their natural food choice has a very similar echo to plastic bags. Not only can plastic sound like food, at shallower depths it can look and smell stickily similar to an animal’s natural food source.

Plastic bags float and move similar to the jellyfish, making ingesting plastic easy, further if the plastic bag is also covered in allege it would smell like food, which leads to starvation as the animal is unaware that they’re filling they stomach with plastic instead of nutrients.

National Geographic have reported that around 700 different marine species have been identified to have ingested plastic so far.

More than 35,850 feet deep into the western pacific ocean, one of deepest places in the world and the deepest point in the ocean there is plastic waste.

Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

Fact time

  • Over 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world.

  • Current recycling of plastic bottles generally means ‘down-cycling’ of which that material isn’t that easily recycled again. So technically to support this system we should be purchasing 100% recycled old product goods. It’s best just to use alternatives to plastic bottles.

  • Around 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually worldwide. Thats nearly two million every minute.

  • Everyday 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded in the US alone. Straws will last longer on the earth than you do, and around 8.3 billion straws pollute the world’s coast line today.

  • Around 500 billion disposable coffee cups are produced each year.

  • For the smokers out there, cigarette butts continue to be the number one item found at clean ups world wide- approx 2.4 million are collected. Cigarette butts are made up of non-biodegradable cellulose acetate from cutting, forming and polishing sheets of plastic. 4.5 trillion butts are discarded annually and they take up to 15 years to disintegrate.

  • Next time just use the designated butt bins.

  • 95% of plastic packaging is used just once and then discarded.

  • We have produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic in the last 100 years. That weighs the same as 207 million humpback whales.

A Wild deer died with 7kg (15 lbs) of rubbish inside its stomach in a national park in Thailand.

A Dugong died after plastic had caused obstructions in its stomach, Thailand.

A pilot whale died off the southern coast of Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags, the bags weighting around 8 Kg’s (17lbs) this would have made it impossible for the whale to eat food.

40kgs of plastic found in a Cuvier beaked whales stomach in the Philippines. March 16th 2019 cause of death starvation and dehydration due to plastic, mainly plastic bags, rice sacks and shopping bags.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

“With over 7 billion people of the earth, the oceans are going to be impacted negatively by mankind, but I hope we can at least minimise it in the future.” Vescoco

I hope this immersion has engrossed you as much as me, everyday I pick up handfuls upon handfuls of plastic off the beaches and it's just so saddening. I believe we need to look after our planet and each and every creature on it. What saddens me the most is that the ocean creatures are some of the most intelligent, fun, loving and playful animals in the world and they cease to amaze me everyday. Whilst I think/watch whales and Mantaray's in awe I do hope that the world can start to take a step in the right direction to help care for the underwater world. I just ask to take a moment of thought in each day to consider whether what you're doing is out of ease and can it be done in a more environmentally friendly way.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and it's resonated. Please give it a like and share if you enjoyed, but for now stay savvy and see you soon.

For more you can follow me on Instagram @travel_savvy_guide

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