Drowning in Plastic - facts, options and responsibility

I watched with absolute horror as the the BBC documentary “Drowning In Plastic” opened on a remote island 800 kilometres off the coast of Sydney. Lord Howe Island is the birthplace of the incredible and resilient Shearwater bird. A bird that must learn to swim, fly and hunt within a day of leaving the nest. It takes it's inaugural flight and does not then touch land again for 5 years as it travels the globe. It eventually returns to the island of it's birth to mate and restart the process. A group of scientists started to monitor the consumption of plastics inside the Shearwater chicks as they start their life. Whilst in the nest, their parents had been feeding them plastic, mistaking it for food. Even 12 years ago they found an average of 10 pieces of plastic inside the young birds stomach as they took their first steps from their nest. That figure is now 30 - 40 pieces of plastic. This remote island receives plastic from our kitchens. 

That plastic is our fault. We are killing our wildlife, our planet, our rivers and oceans. We have created a rotten and dangerous environment for our children to inherit.  It is believed that drinking water will be a reason for our next global conflict and the reasons behind this thesis do not even factor in the damage we are already doing to the supplies we are banking on. I know my responsibility as a father is not just to educate and guide my son, it is also to contribute to an environment that can sustain his family, and his grandchildren. 

As a family we do everything we can to recycle, to be mindful of our footprint, but after watching this show we know we must do more. There has been a rise in the number of stores globally offering you the opportunity to bring your own container to refill your products. From shampoo to breakfast cereal and all without the need to increase plastic wastage. I ask you my friends to try and use these stores where possible, so we can encourage more brave entrepreneurs to open similar stores in our communities. I was so upset last night to see the carnage and destruction, but also uplifted to see that we can make changes and that there are a growing number of solutions, but we must act. If you have not seen this documentary I would encourage you to watch it and include kids if you can.

A few facts: 

  • Plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world, from busy tourist beaches to uninhabited, tropical islands - nowhere is safe

  • Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.

  • Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.

  • 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.

*Source - KIMO International.