All the plastic in our seas travelled there from land. We all know this to be a no-brainer but there’s actual evidence which has just been released to support this. The timing wouldn’t be perfect, for World Oceans Day.
Research released by the Tara Ocean Foundation in their Microplastics Mission study on the ten biggest rivers in Europe is a huge eye-opener. It’s estimated that 80% of the plastics found at sea actually comes from land’s river systems. Some 40% of the world’s production of plastic comes in the form of packaging.
Europe is the second biggest producer of plastic waste (after Asia). Waste obviously travels from land into our waterways which then lead to the wide open spaces of our world’s oceans. This is the perfect opportunity where we as travellers can help reduce our impact on our oceans. The Tara Foundation’s words are simple and insightful: “Nature doesn’t produce waste. Plastics at sea have become a symbol of man’s impact on the environment.” Let’s start with reducing, if not eliminating, our “plastic footprint”.
Pack your three C’s: cutlery, cups and containers
Thinking of eating out in your travels? If you want to grab a quick mal, snack or drink, then take some reusable containers, cups and cutlery. This means you’re delivering a firm message to businesses that plastic packaging is not ok.
Take your own bags when you shop for supplies
You’ve just landed in a new city and you need to buy a few necessities to keep you nourished in your journey. As part of your packing, make sure you pack reusable bags so that you can cart your grocery items without leaving behind a trail of disposable plastic.
So no to non-essential single-use plastic items
Plastic straws, plastic shower caps, plastic bottles, plastic toothbrushes…The list grows the more you think about it. But, rather than increasing the list, increase your ability to say no to these non-essential items. Think of alternative ways to live without these items. Drink your beverage without a straw, drink distilled water poured into your own reusable bottle, choose a bamboo toothbrush and enlist your hairdresser to provide alternative ways for you to shower without wetting your hair. You’d be surprised what you can achieve with a little ingenuity.
There’s no better way to create a collective voice against plastic when we all individually say no to plastic. What clever ways have you managed to say no to plastic? What have you achieved in your travels? I’d love to hear how you have combatted the plastic problem in your travels.