Our War on Plastic: a silent killer

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My Volunteering Video Blog by Sophie
June 14, 2016
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Coastal Surveying
September 19, 2016

Our War on Plastic: a silent killer

turtle plastic image


Plastic is everywhere. Chances are you will deal with it daily, in most aspects of your lives. Plastic makes up most of our phones, our computers and keyboards, parts of our cars, utensils in our kitchen, drink bottles, food containers, many stationery products and not only that, most products are wrapped in plastic packaging. You can even find it in some of your cosmetics and soaps!!

Where does it all go when you throw it away? Well, it either goes to your local dump, where it can take up to 700 years to decompose- and even then it never completely decomposes. Or it goes into our beautiful ocean. All drains eventually run into the sea, so when you use a facewash which contains Polyethalene (also known as microbeads…find out more here), they end up directly in the sea.

Plastic: the silent killer. 

Did you know that there are giant plastic islands floating in the ocean as big as Texas? This is bad. Not only for the ocean but also for our health. It has been estimated that 92% of children over 6 test positive for the plastic chemical BPA.

It is not good for our sea life either- there have been countless examples of washed up marine mammals, birds and fish that have died because they have consumed too much plastic, or have been tangled in or suffocated by some form of plastic product.

As part of our community outreach projects we operate a number of recycling initiatives to increase awareness around plastic use, our marine conservation program also runs an ongoing  research program monitoring the plastic found on our beautiful beaches in South Africa.


10 ways you can help right NOW:

  1. REUSE– you’ve heard it many times before, but reuse your shopping bags, water bottles, or even better, opt for cloth bags and glass bottles instead of plastic.
  2. SAY NO to single-serve packaging, excess packaging and other disposable plastics. Straws are incredible harmful, so think twice before reaching for one when you buy a drink. Carry reusable utensils instead of opting for plastic knives & forks.
  3. REDUCE everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by opting for lunch boxes and juice bottles.
  4. Take your own travel mug to take-away coffee shops, reducing the need for plastic cups and lids
  5. GO DIGITAL– try to minimise the need for plastic DVD cases and DVDs, you can now get all your movies and music online!
  6. Try to find non-plastic alternatives to your every day items- e.g. opt for wooden utensils, cardboard containers etc.
  7. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  8. Volunteer to clean up your local beach or town, find a group or if you can’t, start one!
  9. Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  10. SPREAD THE WORD. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the nasty impacts of plastic pollution. If you are the right kind of person, get your local schools involved. The quickest way to change a mindset is to get the kids involved.
world ocean cleanup poster

Watch Now:

See what our volunteers do to fight the war on plastic:

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