Plastic pollution has been gaining a lot of attention recently and we thought we’d take a quick look at the problem and share some tips on how you can help.
So what’s the problem with plastic?
Due to the growing population of the world, easy, disposable plastics have become a way of life. But how does this on-the-go lifestyle affect the environment around us? Our dependency on these one-time-use bottles and containers is causing problems for wildlife, plants and humans too.
Seas and rivers are the places most affected. Millions of fish are dying every day. They predict that the weight of the plastic in the sea will be more than the weight of all the fish by 2050. This is why people are really worried and encouraging people to help make a difference. This BBC article explains how the pollution in Cardiff’s rivers has reached ‘tipping point’.
What can I do?
Here are 5 things we can all do to help with the plastic problem.
Be prepared and always take your own reusable bags when shopping, and avoid the 5p (or 10p in some places) bag charge as well. Another great idea is to check whether the packaging of the products you are buying is recyclable and if not see if there is an alternative.
Invest in a reusable water bottle or cup instead of the throw away plastic kind that they sell drinks in. You’ll save money by taking your own tap water, or some places offer a 10% discount on drinks if you bring your own container. Although it’s cool to get your name on your frappe, it’s a lot cooler trying to save the environment.
3. Avoid pointless plastics
There’s been a big drive to ditch the straws recently and they are not easily available in bars and restaurants anymore, you have to specifically ask for them. Most of us don’t really need straws to drink, we can do without them, and cutting them out could help save lots of animals or plants. And if you really need to use straws, switch to paper ones.
Try buying loose fruit and veg and not the ones already packaged in plastic. You don’t have to use the clear plastic bags they provide in shops either. Place them loose in your bag or bring your own container from home.
4. Recycle everything
Don’t add to the problem by choosing not to recycle things that can be recycled, stop putting them in the general waste. That’s more things going to landfill and having an effect on plants and animals. If you burn plastic this can cause air pollution as they release toxic chemicals. More and more items are becoming recyclable so always check the label.
5. Pick up three
There are lots of organisations and charities that encourage people to pick up and take away three pieces of plastic every time they visit the beach or riverbank. You can pick up more than this of course, look out for clean-ups near you, or arrange your own. If everyone who visited took away a bit of rubbish every time then it would make a huge difference to ridding our beauty spots of plastic.
There’s a new exercise craze out there too – plogging. It originated in Sweden and involves jogging and picking up rubbish at the same time. A great workout for your legs and core as you run and squat. Keep yourself and the planet fit – bonus!
Check out this BBC article about a river clean on the banks of the River Rhymney a couple of months back. They collected over 150 bags of plastic in two hours!!! You can check out where Cardiff Rivers Group will be picking litter from next in their Upcoming Events section.
Share and learn more
Make sure that you spread the message to those that might not be aware of the effect that plastic has on everyday life. Help the world by sharing this article and spreading the word about plastic pollution.
(This article originally appeared on the Meic Cymru website on 15 June 2018)