The impact of the holiday season on our oceans
It's the holiday season and everyone is wrapping gifts but have you ever thought where that wrapping ends up?
What about all that excess plastic that gets thrown away? Sometimes it's difficult to remember that our purchasing habits have a very real effect on our planet. When shopping this holiday season it's important to remember to avoid using single-use plastics as they do untold damage to our oceans.
But what are some ways that we can help reduce our plastic waste this season?
1. Firstly we can switch to a more eco-friendly alternatives instead of single-use plastics, global news has a great article on how to switch.
2. You can cut down on the wrapping paper by reusing bags or switching to compostable paper.
3. Certain styles of wrapping can be less heavy on the paper side and allow for less paper to be used.
4 Look for biodegradable wrapping paper so that you can compost it after the holiday season.
5. Avoid using as many single packaged food items as possible. every food item that comes in its own wrapping will lead to more and more of it being accumulated.
It's important to remember that every year 5 to 12 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans further damaging our marine life. By cutting back on plastic usage we can ensure less plastic ends up in the ocean making the clean up of the plastic already in the ocean easier.
Some might ask why is plastic in our oceans so bad? The core issue with our plastic waste is that marine animals like sea turtles and whales eat the plastic thinking that its jellyfish or krill and end up choking to death. It's not just massive pieces of plastic like bottles or bags that are doing damage though instead quite a bit of harm can be traced to microplastics. Microplastics are by definition pieces of plastic less than 5mm in length and they tend to fill up the ocean. Microplastics do damage to marine through two processes, firstly direct ingestion in which the animals eat the plastic which in-turn fills up in their body killing or poisoning the animal this normally only affects smaller animals were the pieces of microplastic are large enough to cause damage, The second way is through the process of Biomagnification which is the accumulation of plastic through the food chain. i.e krill eats plastic, small fish eats krill, large fish eats small fish, and finally, the shark eats large fish. In each of these steps more and more of plastic is consumed until the plastic becomes too much and kills the shark.
By switching to eco-friendly alternatives you can ensure that less plastic ends up in the ocean so that they can be enjoyed by future generations.