Inspired by the Plastiki
Inspired by David de Rothschild's Plastiki Expedition, which at time of writing was making its epic journey across the Pacific Ocean and passing through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area twice the size of Texas made up mainly of floating plastic rubbish, I wrote the poem that follows after the next paragraph.
The BBC have published a video report showing that a remote beach in Hawaii is being converted into plastic sand at an alarming rate as more and more plastic trash gets washed up on it. Plastic only breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and so can become plastic sand. In Hawaii and elsewhere in many places what appears to be sand is actually plastic grains. Beaches are being converted into plastic ones at a terrible cost to the environment and the wildlife it supports.
Plastic packaging and plastic rings,
Plastic bags for more plastic things,
Plastic bottles for the water you drink,
But plastic causes death so stop and think!
Millions of sea birds and turtles painfully die,
After eating plastic that floats on by,
Plastic thrown away and out of reach,
Ends up as plastic sand on a plastic beach,
Plastic sold for consumer cash
Fills our oceans with plastic trash.
How does the plastic get to the sea?
Many people think that the plastic rubbish we see on beaches or floating on the tides has been dumped at sea or thrown as litter on the beaches but while some of it gets there that way, most of it gets washed down into the oceans in rivers and drains. Go to any river these days and you will find plastic trash being carried downstream. Plastic litter that gets thrown in the countryside and in towns and cities often ends up in drains and in rivers. When there are thunderstorms this plastic rubbish gets washed down any watercourses it lands in. Most of the plastic that ends up in the sea gets there from inland.
The variety of plastic rubbish is alarming. Plastic drinking straws, bottles, cups, lighters, bottle caps, packaging, bags, and toys are just some of the objects that contribute to the plastic pollution problem.
The 4 Rs
The plastic pollution problem is a growing one as tons of the toxic material enters the sea each day. We all need to do what we can to halt this getting any worse than the situation already is. Most seabirds now have plastic in them and the same goes for whales, many of which are beaching and dying because their stomachs are filled with plastic trash.
And the problem is not just near cities that are on the coast but all around the planet. The oceans carry the plastic all around the world and dump it on beaches in the most remote places.
So what can an individual do, I expect you are asking? Well a simple answer is contained in the 4Rs formula which is to Reduce, Refuse, Reuse and Recycle! The more we do follow that formula the better it is for the world!