Lina Steffens, Germany
About eight million tons of plastic trash end up in our oceans every year, which is affecting the wildlife in the ocean and on the coast. Annually, about 100,000 marine mammals die due to plastic pollution and millions of birds and fish mistake plastic debris for food or get stuck in them. Along the shores, thousands of bird corpses rest on the beach with their stomachs full of plastic trash. From whales, sea lions, and birds to the zooplankton, plastic is greatly affecting marine life, and those who suffer most are the animals.
Why is the consumption of plastic so tremendous? It is lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong and inexpensive, qualities that make the use of plastic in different areas of industry and production very attractive, which leads to an over-consumption of plastic goods such as plastic bags, packaging, straws or bottles. Coupled with littering and polluting, plastic represents a danger for nature, our environment and the animal kingdom.
A plastic bag takes about 10-20 years to decompose, while a plastic bottle needs about 450 years until it’s completely decayed. If you imagine the amount of already existing plastic trash, and the amount that is added daily, the likelihood to eliminate it from our oceans completely seems impossible.
One of the main problems is recycling, or the fact that many people are not aware what proper recycling, and the conscious use of plastic goods could change. Different types of trash are usually put in one bin together, regardless of the possibility to help saving the environment by just separating it. Bags, bottles and packaging are often dropped on the ground where they start polluting the environment.
Each and every person that consumes plastic goods daily has to rethink their use of it. Even small changes of the amount we use and how we recycle it can make a big difference. Separating our trash, recycling plastic, minimizing the use of plastic or the use of biodegradable plastic can help. There is no way to undo it, but we can prevent the worldwide problem from getting worse.