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Ducks in the Debris

Plastic Pollution in my Local Lake

I know that plastic has been a issue for a while, but I recently saw a stark reminder of how much our disposable culture affects the environment. On a recent visit to the park for a change of scenery and a bit of fresh air, I noticed some plastic bags in the water – not far from the ducks I was admiring. There was something very unsettling about seeing these animals swim among debris, particularly because 1) this is in my manor and 2) the situation was avoidable on many levels.

I appreciate that it may sound ignorant to state that this incident drove home the point re plastic when I live in an urban city where litter is (sadly) commonplace. However, as frustrating as it is to see litter on the street, it is even more frustrating to see where the litter from the street potentially ends up.

Although I have known for a while that the overuse of plastic has a detrimental impact on the environment, I took the opportunity to review some facts on plastic pollution so as to be reminded of why it’s important to make the extra effort to reduce our personal use of plastic. Here are a few things that I think are worth knowing/remembering:

  • 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced since the 1950s and less than 10 per cent of it has been recycled (Global Citizen).
  • Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations (National Geographic)
  • Plastic is harmful to marine life. Fish, turtles, whales and even coral reef are being harmed by plastic pollution (Ocean Society).
  • It isn’t just marine life that is impacted, it is estimated that humans consume between 39,000 – 52,000 micro plastic particles a year. The potential effects of this consumption is still unknown (National Geographic).
  • Plastic is linked to fossil fuel. The production of four plastic bottles releases the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of driving one mile in an internal combustible engine vehicle (Reuters).

Finally, a few things to note about the impact of the pandemic on our plastic consumption. It would be remiss of us to believe that the disruption to our daily life will have had led to a reduction in plastic consumption. The increase of hyper hygienic behaviour has brought with it an increase in the use of plastic gloves, disposable masks, bottles of hand sanitiser and bottles of hand wash. Our confinement to our homes has led to an increase in takeaways and online shopping. The pandemic has basically less presented us with the dilemma of choosing between the environment or our personal safety.

Sometimes it feels like a vicious cycle that we can’t see our way out of but for now we all need to continue in our efforts to reduce our plastic consumption and make sure we are disposing of plastic appropriately.

1 thought on “Ducks in the Debris”

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your observations an thoughts. It was well presented and is sure to an encouragement for those who are environmentally conscious and actively engaged in protecting our environment. However, I trust it will serve as an impetus for those who are less inclined and an eye-opener for those on denial. 🇹🇹🌴

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