How Does Plastic End Up In Our Oceans?
Every year about 8,000,000 metric tons of plastic make their way into the sea.
How does plastic end up in our oceans?
We've done the research for you and have compiled the answers into the six categories listed below.
1. Littering on Land
Have you ever walked by a garbage bin that was overflowing with garbage?
That's a major red flag.
Any plastic waste that isn’t properly deposited on land can be whipped up by the wind and rain and will travel in a seaward direction.
That's why an estimated 80% of marine litter comes from land.
So please make sure to always drop all plastics into recycling bins.
2. Garbage Transport
When garbage is being transported to a landfill, lightweight plastic can be blown away by the wind. When that happens, it can clutter around drains and enter rivers and, eventually, end up at sea.
3. Flow from Rivers
Rivers are a major source of plastic pollution. They are thought to deposit between 1.15 and 2.41 million tonnes of plastic in the sea.
The most contributing of those rivers are found in Asia.
It's unfair, however, to blame those countries for this, because it’s the western countries like Canada, USA, and the UK that are sending heaps of trash over to Indonesia, Vietnam, and The Philippines.
These Asian countries lack a state-of-the-art recycling infrastructure.
As a result, trash complies in mountains of landfills and flows into the rivers
But now, Asian countries are sending trash back!
4. Illegal Dumping into Sea
There are people around the world who throw plastic into the sea.
Please don't be one of them!
If you see someone toss plastic out of a boat or from the shore into sea, make sure to call them out on it! It’s not just people littering the oceans. It’s also fishermen. Did you know that fishing nets account for 46% of all the plastics in the ocean?
Did we mention cruise ships? They are also dumping their garbage out in the open sea.
5. Synthetic fibers that are washed
At Lovers of The Sea, we're committed to natural fibers.
That's because synthetic man-made fibres such as polyester and acrylic are plastic-based textiles. Natural fibers such as cotton, wool, linen, and silk are plastic-free.
During a washing machine wash cycle, an acrylic garment can shed upwards of 700,000 microfibres. These tiny (invisible to the naked eye) microfibres are flushed into our drains, eventually finding their way into rivers and then oceans.
These microfibres even account for the credit card’s worth of plastic we consume in a given week.
So here's our little tip: stick to shopping apparel that’s made from sustainable sources of cotton, linen or wool.
6. Flushing down the toilet
There is a habit for people to flush wet wipes, cotton swabs/buds, and sanitary products down the toilet. All of these products contain plastic — unless of course they're made from natural bamboo.
So what goes into the toilet?
We love Lucy Siegle’s tip. "Take it as a rule that only 3Ps — poo, pee and paper (loo paper) — should ever go in the toilet."