Cape Town, 08 June 2018 – Today is World Oceans Day, a day when people around the world celebrate and honour the ocean, which connects us all. I know where I will be picking up plastic waste. Where will you be doing the same? By Des Langkilde – Editor @TourismTattler
On Wednesday, I took my dogs for their daily sunset run along Cape Town’s Milnerton Beach and was flabbergasted by the sheer volume of plastic waste that had washed up after heavy ocean swells deposited pollution carried down from river outlets into the ocean following the much needed recent rainfall over most of the Western Cape.
I always carry a dog-poop packet on these beach walks and pick up bits of plastic, like sweet wrappers, bottle tops, and plastic straws, but this was way beyond my usual pick-it-up capability. On Thursday, I managed to fill 10 garbage bags with plastic bottles, discarded shoes, and plastic toys collected from just one small patch of kelp. Hopefully, today, more people will be on the beach to help with the task.
Do you know how much plastic has accumulated in our oceans?
Take a look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating island of plastic rubbish estimated to be twice the size of France – and that’s not even all the plastic that’s been thrown into the ocean!
According to WWF International, the growing problem of plastic pollution means that there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, and microplastics have already been found in one out of four fish – which means we might end up ingesting bits of plastic. This is a problem that affects us all, and that’s why we must take action today.
Here are some suggestions from WWF that you can take in your daily life to reduce your use of unnecessary single-use plastics:
– Switch to reusable shopping/grocery bags
– Bring your own reusable mugs to takeaway beverages, or reusable containers if you’re taking out food
– Ditch plastic straws for reusable alternatives
– Urge your local supermarket to reduce plastic packaging
– The more, the merrier. Encourage your friends and family to do the same!
– Try coming up with your own examples – share it on social media with #BeatPlasticPollution and #Connect2Earth!
Why Celebrate World Oceans Day?
The World Oceans Day website states that a healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Every year, World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honour, help protect, and conserve our world’s shared ocean. The ocean is important because it:
– Generates most of the oxygen we breathe
– Helps feed us
– Regulates our climate
– Cleans the water we drink
– Offers a pharmacopoeia of medicines
– Provides limitless inspiration!
So, today, let’s all get together with family, friends, community, and the planet to start creating a better future. Working together, we can and will protect our shared ocean.