Plastic In Our Waters

What are you putting in the ocean? I am adding a rose petal!

If you're reading this, I'm guessing you probably have a good idea why it matters to reduce waste but we'll talk about it a little bit anyways. I have been an environmentalist since middle school, but there have been ups and downs on  my journey to reduce waste. I use to be so serious about it I'd go without food or water for quite a while to not get a piece of single use garbage. Now, I am just better prepared!

Living near the water has made the heinous amount of waste we humans are making even more obvious. In fact, the marina I lived at for the majority of my time in San Francisco was built on waste filler. Down near the waterline, you can see where the earth they put on top has eroded, exposing piles of roofing tile and other plastic. I was visiting La Jolla, California just after the sea lion pups were born and about 10 of them had swam into a plastic circle that they could not get off. As they grew, the plastic just dug deeper into their skin, making them look segmented. I can't imagine how uncomfortable that must be!

Then, there is the invisible microplastics in our drinking water. One study¹ found microplastics in 83% of the worlds drinking water. The US is even worse. 94% of US tap water was found to contain microplastics. Bottled water is no better. Where are the microplastics coming from? The number one source of microplastics¹ is from washing our clothes! This surprised me. An estimated 1 million tons of microplastics is released from synthetic clothing (i.e. fleece, polyester, spandex, nylon, etc.) annually. Half of this is caught at wastewater plants and half just flows into our rivers and oceans because we do not use filters capable of seperate the tiny, invisible-to-the-eye plastics from the water. A few other sources of microplastic include tire dust, paints and things like plastic forks in the ocean breaking down.

I can not think about the health of my own body without thinking of it's interconnectedness with the health of the earth around me. If the earth was healthier, everybody would be healthier. 

Next week I'll be sharing ways I have found to simply cut WAY down on my plastic waste footprint.

I don't want to hear any of that nonsense that individual actions don't make an impact. They're HUGE. Of course, policy is important to, but we people have to decide what we want first and show it through our actions, to create a bigger demand for policy change.

Sources:

  1. https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics