Like I mentioned in my post Tmrw Tday blog, one of my biggest take aways from the festival was the screening of the film, A Plastic Ocean. We all hear about the litter that pollutes our oceans, but this film really went in and showed us how much of an impact plastic products have. It gives a glimpse into the repercussions plastic is having on the world around us. Since watching this film, this issue has not left my consciousness.
Plastic is so widely used because it is so durable, but that is also the problem. It is so durable it is indestructible by the natural environment. The plastic that is floating in, or resting at the bottom of our oceans will never disintegrate, breakdown or disappear. A key message from the film was that most people think as soon as they “dispose” of plastic, it magically disappears, out of sight out of mind. The sad truth is, most of these products end up in landfills or in our waters and thats where they remain for a very, very, very, long time.
Until witnessing this film, I didn’t realize the impact all this plastic has on sea life. I never stopped to think that when a whale opens its mouth and intakes 40 gallons of water to feed, they are also ingesting all of the litter and pollution that we create. Their bodies are not meant to digest plastic and many creatures of the sea end up dying because the plastic blocks their internal organs. Many sea creatures also end up eating plastic unintentionally and get tangled or caught up all in the garbage floating around in their natural environment.
It is at the forefront of my awareness that the “one time use” plastics are the biggest problem. The plastic shopping bags, the water bottles, the lighters, 6-pk beer can rings, etc, these were the most prevalent in the film. Since watching these “one time use” products are the things that I can’t seem to get away from. These items as well as things like plastic party cups, straws, cutlery and take away food containers, have haunted me and are just everywhere I look. Plastic is something I can’t get away from no matter how hard I try. Eating in at a local restaurant recently, they tried to give me my salad in a plastic container. I asked for a plate and they did find one. It was a small but savoured victory for me to save that one container from the bin. There needs to be more options, but people also need to become more conscious of their choices. In Jamaica we probably wouldn’t have looked into the option of paper cups if it had not been for the film, and it was actually cheaper to buy the paper! It was a win-win. Plastic bottles are a major problem as these rarely get reused. Will you join me and make a conscious effort to use a refillable water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go?
I have also become aware of many conscious companies that are trying to help clean up the oceans and repurpose the plastic. Newly coined eco-clothing brands are helping to pull plastic out of the oceans and reusing them to make clothing and shoes. One such bikini company I have recently connected with. “Designed and manufactured in California, SUMMERLOVE SWIMWEAR features a range of mix and match separates made exclusively from VITA, a sustainable techno-fabric with ECONYL®, a 100% recycled polyamide fiber that’s made from pre and post-consumer materials such as discarded fishing nets recovered by the Healthy Seas initiative.”
Instead of focusing all your attention on this plastic problem, I’d like to pivot to all the solutions and ways we can individually make a difference. If we are all collectively more conscious of our plastic waste, we can help to reduce it. Ways that I personally have began to battle plastic waste is:
- carrying my refillable water bottle everyday
- carrying a reusable shopping bag
- saying no to straws
- switching to disposable paper plates and cups
- carrying a fork to BBQ’s instead of using plastic & asking friends to as well
- using a menstrual cup instead of tampons
- recycling pens, toothbrushes – things that most people don’t think to recycle end up in trash!
Every bit counts when we do this collectively. Please share your ideas and comments below on how else we can reduce plastic waste. It doesn’t matter whether you live near an ocean or not, all our rivers and lakes are connected so we are all responsible!
Love & Light, Stacy ‘Irie Soul’