Q: What weighs the same as 50 MILLION adult reindeer but is nowhere near as cute?
A: The amount of rubbish that washes into the ocean each year
To be precise, more than 8.3 million tons of rubbish finds its way to the oceans each year. A million tons of this stays in the ocean but the rest of it finds its way onto shores all over the world.
Because we all know how bad rubbish is for the environment, we decided to give you a few tips on how to lighten your rubbish load this Christmas.
Planning to land that elusive Marlin?
Did you know that as many as 15,000 turtles are caught in dumped fishing gear in Northern Australia alone each year?
- Take all your fishing nets, lines, lures, hooks and sinkers home with you.
- Donate your unwanted fishing gear to the wonder that is craft. Check out these inspirational mods…do we hear a summer project coming on?
Throwing a frivolous festive function?
Even if you live in an inner city apartment, bits of balloons, noisy blowers and even curling ribbon can find its way to the ocean. This year our Marine Debris team showed how wind
and storm water can carry rubbish through the storm water system, into rivers and ultimately into the ocean.
- These little pieces of plastic end up floating in the sea and begin to smell like tasty krill. Sea birds come along and eat the plastic, some even feed the plastic to their babies. By 2050, 95% of seabirds will have plastic in their gut.
- Ask each of your guests to put two pieces of rubbish in the bin on their way out the door – and if the weather’s wild, put the little pieces of plastic straight in the bin.
- Think of alternatives to plastic such as paper, or sturdy reusable decorations.
Hanging out at the beach?
As much as 40 per cent of litter found during organised clean-up activities in Australia are beverage containers.
- Crush down aluminium cans and bottles and put them in the recycling! Or save your bottles over the holiday period and build a kayak… you’ll need a real addiction for soft drink or a family of ten to carry this off!
- Keep your reusable BPA free drinking bottle close by and reuse for water, juice…wine!?
- Don’t be a beach bum, take your trash home.
Embarking on an urgent and hellish last minute shopping expedition?
- Plastic bags can really hurt sea turtles – and let’s be honest, who wants to be responsible for the death of a sea turtle? When they find their way into the sea, they move around like jellyfish and turtles don’t seem to be able to tell the difference.
- Canvas bags, trolleys, buckets and even spouses are all much more environmentally friendly than carrying those last minute gifts in a plastic bag. Be cool; say no to plastic bags.
Our marine debris team has been working for years’ to better understand how rubbish ends up in the oceans. Their research shows that the plastic in our oceans and on our beaches come from us! While we’re the cause – we’re also the solution!
Here’s to a safe, happy and debris free Christmas!
Find out more on our marine debris research here.