1000 Years: the Time for 1 Plastic Bag to Decompose
In April 2017, the non-profit organization Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii teamed up with Pro Surfer Kai Lenny and 5Gyres to execute the first state-wide beach clean-up in Hawaii.
But what´s behind that story?
“By 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish” (Theguardian, 2017).
Nowadays almost everything we can buy and live from is made of plastic. Just look around yourself: Toothbrushes, shampoos, deodorants, pens, bottles, tables, chairs, boxes and basically everything that is used for packaging… Plastic is almost like a new, indispensable resource that characterizes our 20th century, having the “wonderful feature” to be hardly dismantled by nature. Are we really going to get crushed by our debris one day? Well if so, we will at least be remembered as our traces have never been left that clearly and visible on the planet before.
What´s even worse? What goes around comes back around
Litter we recklessly throw away flows through drains out to sea, polluting waterways and finally, affecting our seafood. Over time, plastic floating in our oceans is broken down into smaller pieces by waves or by sun, creating micro plastics. These small pieces of plastic easily end up in fish’s stomachs and finally ending up in ours… This kind of education form is a major tool of Sustainable Coastlines to create awareness in times when the organization is not out there to work on the beaches.
Question yourself: “Would you enjoy your meal with an aftertaste of plastic?
If it feels a little weird, maybe it’s time to take action. Well, that’s exactly what a bunch of friends decided in 2010 by starting to put hands on beaches. That´s when Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii was born. With their recent campaign of a state-wide clean-up, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s goal was to clear dirty beaches on every main island that forms part of Hawaii in-order to create awareness about global plastic pollution consequences. Therefore, 326 volunteers successfully removed a total of 5 tons of trash away from the coasts.
Kai Lenny, professional ocean athlete and therefore deeply connected to this element, represented the ideal face for this campaign. By only using his human power and wind, he paddled, surfed, kite-surfed, sailed and foiled from island to island to lead the cleanups on-site. See the following short clip to get an insight:
What is so special about Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and this campaign?
Actually, Sustainable Coastlines doesn’t focus on campaigns, it’s rather about to go out and just do it. So bring a bunch of people together, clean up your beach, enjoy the feeling afterwards and you’ll have a great and fun day! Most of us just don’t bear the fun part in mind.
The reason we are talking about this?
South Africa has 3200km of coastlines which need to be protected as plastic is moving along with the oceans’ main streams. If you want to take action but can’t immediately make it to the beach after reading through this post, see our nine easy tips that will help you to reduce your plastic footprint right away:
Shopping food? Just bring your own fabric bag.
Bananas and avocados with their natural peal: Why rewrap them in plastic?
Drink, drink, drink… but not out of plastic bottles. Use a refillable one instead.
Why plastic straws? Your cocktail tastes the same without a plastic straw, so give it a try. If not, use areusable one.
Don´t use plastic cutlery during lunch break! Instead, take your own from home.
Coffee to go! To all the coffee addicted people out there! Bring your own cup. For the forgetful ones: Just leave the plastic cap away.
The bubble bursts! Now this is a hard one, but we bet that hardly anyone is aware of the fact that chewing gum is made from polymers which are synthetic plastics that do not biodegrade.
Cigarette butts… Not many words are needed but to only question yourself, what do you do with cigarette butts?
And don´t forget to wash your hands! Try to switch to bar soap instead of liquid soap which comes in a plastic package.
Easy right? If your motivation goes beyond that, Sustainable Coastlines will help you to create your own event. Click on Sustainable Coastlines and look at all the steps prepared by them for you to run a smooth and fun clean-up.
Thanks for reading and remember to:
REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
….and Hang loose