When surfing, rarely is there a day when there’s not garbage out there bobbing in the water with me – sandwich bags, chip bags, water bottles, grocery bags… I’ll pick the refuse up, curse the litterer and recycle it when I return to shore. But there is a much larger problem out there, specifically with plastics. Plastics do not biodegrade; plastics are forever. Worse still there is a giant blob of garbage swirling out in the ocean (see more below). This blob is so large, it even has a name – Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
If you want to help:
- Make sure you don’t let your trash wander into the ocean on your next beach visit.
- Don’t take a bag at the store if you can carry it in your hand OR even better, always bring your trusty re-usable cloth bag. (Cloth bag is the key here, though a re-usable plastic bag is still better than endless plastic bags.) America uses approximately 100 billion new plastic bags every year.
- Don’t buy bottled water. Get a re-usable bottle and fill it when you need water. Plus you’ll save money. Did you know you often pay more per gallon of water than you do per gallon of gas? And I know you’ve been irked by gas prices. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. EVERY HOUR!
And if you are really gung-ho about this, join Surfriders’s Plastics Pledge.
There is a section of the Pacific Ocean twice the size of the continental United States called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Within it, 100 million tons of plastic swirl in a vortex of currents. There is so much plastic in the water that it outnumbers zooplankton by six to one!
This plastic ends up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals. In fact, one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die globally each year due to ingestion of or entanglement in plastics.
Plastic is forever, with virtually every piece of petroleum based plastic ever made still in existence. That’s why it’s so critical to our oceans and beaches that we dramatically reduce our use of plastics, especially single-use plastics, starting today.
You can make a difference for our world’s oceans, waves and beaches — pledge to rise above plastics today.