Is single use plastic pollution here to stay – we hope not. Single-use plastic containers and other items such as plastic cutlery, supermarket shrink wrap and many other items, continue to threaten our planet. Any item manufactured of plastic that is tossed away anywhere on our land or in our seas is a potential hazard to all plant and marine life, as well as our own existence.
Are you horrified at some of the images gracing the pages of our national newspapers and TV channels? If not, you should be. Latest statistics from one of the biggest campaigns, Sky’s Ocean Rescue are alarmingly high and predicting that by 2030, unless dramatic changes are made, our usage will increase by over 1 million tonnes – and that is just the UK.
It will be some time before the latest moves made by the UK government may show a dent in this huge problem, even though they, and certain commercial organisations such as restaurants and other food producers, are making an effort. But is it enough, and is there a certain amount of complacency surrounding this pressing issue? Governments and commercial organisations can put as many bans or restrictions on the items that are causing danger to our planet, but at the end of the day, it is US that can alter this harmful pattern, by caring more as individuals to halt the rapid rate by which pollution is increasing.
Statistics don’t always register with some of the population, so look at it this way. This year alone, the UK will use:
- 4.1 billion single-use plastic cups!
- 16.5 billion pieces of plastic cutlery, such as knives, forks, spoons/stirrers!
- 42 billion straws!
This is without counting in items such as plastic bags, wet wipes, nappies, ear buds, supermarket packaging etc. Just think about how often you use plastic during a normal day, and how you could change that by using sustainable items instead. Even changing from plastic toothpicks or cocktail sticks and using bamboo is a small but sensible step. Just look at the bigger picture every day and make a difference. Better still if you are an avid coffee drinker, buy your own container and refill at your local coffee shop – in many cafes now, you can even get a discount for ‘bring your own’ cups or flasks (just make sure they are multi use).
This predicted increase by 2030 of 1 million tonnes is alarming in that this would be enough plastic to completely fill 87,000 double decker buses – imagine all of that harmful and toxic waste sharing your bus ride to work in the mornings! Unfortunately, this waste is not locked away on a bus, it is deposited on our land and in our waterways, frequently killing our wildlife and polluting our seas, oceans and rivers. All it needs is a bit of thought and concern about our existence as a planet.
We are not the biggest nation in the world, but alarmingly we are some of the highest ‘consumers’ of single use plastic in the world. We have somewhat of a love affair with fast food and in doing so, 67% of our home waste bins are occupied with harmful plastic. Let’s change that today, every person who takes action will count. After all, there will come a time when ‘tomorrow is another day’ may not be the case if we continue this out of control pollution.