By Sangeeta Waldron — Beach and sea litter is made up of discarded objects, mainly plastics, such as single-use bags and straws that wash up along coastal environments.
Worryingly, in the UK over the past 15 years, the amount of plastics found on the beaches has almost doubled. Plastic trash never really breaks down; experts suggest if left in the environment, it will be with us in some microscopic form for thousands of years. This material is also toxic and can enter the food chain when mistakenly eaten by fish, seabirds, marine mammals and other organisms. Sadly, over 100,000 marine mammals and a million seabirds die every year from ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter.
This is why marine plastic pollution—specifically, tackling society’s throwaway, excessive, unnecessary plastics—is critical. It can be hard for people to understand the severity of the situation, unless they live in areas where trash continually washes up on their beaches.
Now, Sky TV
is educating people by launching its Ocean Rescue campaign, hoping to change consumer behaviors around the issue of plastic ocean trash. The campaign has also recruited a few well-known figures such as Sir Richard Branson, Prince Charles and astronaut Tim Peake to help promote this issue.
includes a 45-minute documentary screened across all its channels and to help make the topic hit home, Sky features UK-specific data, such as that the number of plastic bottles washing up on the country’s beaches rose 43 percent between 2014 and 2015 and that only half of plastic bottles are currently collected for recycling, despite 35 million being sold nationally daily.
The initiative also goes a step further, showing how ocean trash can have a very direct impact on all of us. A short video
reveals how ocean microplastics can end up in the seafood we eat every day. The film shows a scientist digging in to a plate of mussels—only to reveal that it contains about 90 particles of plastic. As many as 4,000 fragments may end up in our bodies annually by the end of the century. There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean with the number growing, says the National Geographic
This is a problem that connects the environment with all parts of society, and is something that we can take action on at all levels. It is only through concerted collective action, that we will be able to create the change required to stop the flood of plastic pollution washing over our world.
Photo Credit: Sky