If you think that burning forests, the so-called lungs of the planet, put us all in danger, then how about oceans packed full of trash? Oceans cover 70% of planet Earth and are the main source of oxygen not only for humans, but for all living beings. And what do we do? Right, we dump tons of trash right into it. We don’t care about the lives of hundreds of ocean plants and animal species, but what’s even more frightening – we don’t care the lives of all those people that will come after us and will have to deal with water chockfull of plastic and chemicals. If you think things aren’t as bad as I paint them, just look at these photos made by Caroline Power, a photographer whose main focus is environmental issues all over the world.
If we continue polluting our oceans at the rate we do now, by year 2050 there will be more trash and plastic in the ocean than actual fish!
Of course, it would be easy to blame some companies, fast food chains, or governments of different countries, but the truth is that we, as a society drawn in consumerism, are to blame for this, too. In the comments to her photos Caroline Powers encourages everyone to look at their own lives and the amount of single-use items we’re using every day.
The photos are heart-breaking to say the least! Nature created the pristine innocent beauty for everyone to enjoy and leave in peace, and we’re destroying it with our own hands. Are all those plastic soda bottles, garbage bags and plastic wraps really worth it?
Caroline challenges every business and every single person to simply keep their garbage for one week. Separate the organic stuff and recyclables, and put everything else somewhere you can see. The sheer amount of plastic and single-use items you’ll end up with on your hands will be really frightening, there’s no doubt about it.
Styrofoam containers and plastic utensils are among the most common garbage items you can see in the oceans. Did you ever stop to think where all that trash goes after you finish your fast food meal? Well, not all of it goes into ocean – some of it gets buries into huge garbage pits on the outskirts of your city. Which is just as bad!
The amount of pollution we’re producing is breaking our system. According to Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer, there are currently around 165 million tons of plastic floating around the oceans of planet Earth. Clothing industry isn’t helping at all either! All those synthetic clothes you wash (shorts, tank tops, yoga pants) shed small amounts of plastic, which eventually gets into larger bodies of water like rivers and oceans.
Plants and fish can’t filter those small plastic particles, and they keep on gathering – even inside their bodies! Not only does this threaten the health of thousands of animal, bird, and ocean species, but humans as well because that plastic ends up in our stomachs, too. First steps in researching just how much plastic we already have in our bodies are being made as we speak and the results aren’t in our favour.
You may think that if you use something with a ‘recyclable’ sign on it then you’re good to go, but it isn’t true. Around 14% of all those plastic objects actually get recycled and according to other sources even less than that – only 9%!
It’s time to become part of the solution and stop being just another cause of this environmental crisis. Reduce the amount of plastic you use (especially one-time-use objects), wash your synthetic clothes in special Guppy bags to keep the micro plastic from getting into the water, and just try to be as conscious as possible about your shopping and the number of things you actually need to buy or have in your home (most of which are made of plastic). Turn to items made from recycled materials and spread the word!