The marine life is a hot topic. But what about the oceans? Why are clean oceans so important to us?
As a traveler you have probably already seen it, a beach full of plastic and waste in that beautiful clear water in which you are diving or snorkeling. But the problem goes far beyond that, the paradise on earth is being ruined by plastic waste.
You might not notice it in the daily routine, but we, humans, are very dependent on the ocean. From food to cooling, but we also use the ocean to transport goods. Even more than that, the climate and the ocean have an important role. Without the ocean, the earth is not livable. So you could say that the ocean functions as the lungs of the earth. At the moment there are 3 major threats that put the function of the oceans under great pressure. Overfishing, climate change and plastic pollution, or plastic soup.
The consequences of microplastic:
The plastic that ends up in the ocean breaks down into very small pieces of plastic, so-called microplastic. These microplastic particles can sometimes not be seen with the eye. A lot of microplastic together creates the so-called plastic soup. Fish and birds get these microplastic particles inside. You may understand that their bodies are not able to process this, causing their stomach to be filled with plastic, by which they will eventually die. If they do not die from toxic plastic substances or a stomach full of plastic, chances are that these fishes are caught for consumption. When we eat the poisoned meat of those fishes (and birds), these substances are also released into our bodies. Which again gives an increased risk of cancer.
Microplastic that is distributed via the wind is also everywhere, on flowers for example. Through bees, which collect the nectar from the flowers, these microplastic particles also end up in our honey. This shows once again that the effects of plastic reaches beyond the plastic in the ocean.
It is not only through our food that the microparticles get into our body. Many single-use plastic, such as the lids of coffee cups or plastic water bottles, contain carcinogenic substances (such as BPA). BPA is the abbreviation of the chemical Bisphenol A. BPA is a plasticizer which is used to make plastic and plastics elastic. Water bottles, trays, coffee cups and packaging: all that is made of plastic can contain BPA, but there can be more carcinogens. A substance like BPA can, if you ingest it in large quantities, have a hormone disrupting effect and is carcinogenic. In case of heat, for example, these substances are released more quickly, such as hot drinks (coffee lids) or a bottle that is lying in the sun for a long time.
How to help?
- Use your own (metal) water bottle
- Use your own bag for shopping
- Eat less(or no) meat to prevent ocean acidification
- Travel with a metal, bamboo or glass straw
- Limit the use of plastic in your accommodation
- Be part of a beach clean-up!
Once a month we organise a beach clean-up with our team in order to help the earth. Do you feel like joining us? Contact us and ask when our next beach clean-up is!