Plastic Pollution: The Unseen Effects On Our Oceans

Products containing plastic as packaging is something we have been brought up with. It's nearly unavoidable and is prominent in todays society. I know speaking from my own experience that growing up I never was properly educated and shown the damage that this waste can cause on our planet, thus making it not exactly a priority in everyday life. As the years have gone by, suspicions have been raised and the damage has become clear, creatures harmed, landfills and companies reluctant to change. We are now seeing more and more solutions in the last few years, such as the straw ban, plastic bag charge etc, but we still have a long way to go. I want to make it a little clearer as to why these changes are so important and why here at Hydrate we are making sure we can do our part in preserving and restoring our oceans.
Marine mammals, fish & seabirds are all facing the affects of our pollution. At least 267 species have already been effected by plastic pollution, this includes 44% of all seabird species, 84% of sea turtle species and 43% of all marine mammal species. It is being projected that if we do not make changes, then 700 species could go extinct. This means gone forever, because of our species decisions. Estimates believe that 1 in 3 marine mammal has been caught up in some type of litter at some point, a lot of these mammals wont make it out alive and will die because of this.

A less obvious affect is the digestion of pollution. Studies estimate that 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs, seabirds will mistakenly prey on plastic pollution, and fill themselves with plastic, causing them to starve over time, as they have no room for real food.. Adult seabirds will also feed their babies plastic, and the cycle continues. The contamination also plays a role. Baby dolphins can expect to be exposed to pollutants when feeding on their mothers milk, as it will be contaminated through plastic consumption. Not a great way to start life in the sea. Reproduction is also affected after long exposure to pollutants and chemicals. Sea life that's exposed to dangerous pollution will eventually become unable to reproduce, leading them closer to potential extinction. Not to mention that fish consumed by humans will have likely been exposed to the same chemicals, causing humans to intake the same dangers.

A rather obvious affect is the fact that it looks simply disgusting. Did you know there is an island of debris in the Great Pacific which is bigger than the state of Texas. There are similar patches across the Indian & Atlantic ocean also. Studies have shown there is 580,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre. I don't know about you either but when I visit the beach, plastic washing up through the sea does not exactly make me feel good about what we are doing.
UN environment programme director Achim Steiner states that the affects the ocean is seeing is due to our 'throw-away society'. The average life of a plastic bag is 15 minutes! The good news we can make changes right now. To make it easy I will tell you what you can do to make a positive change:

Reuse-Most of this plastic pollution is single use plastic such as plastic bags, plastic bottles etc. Find an alternative, keep a bag for life with you in the car so whenever you are grabbing some shopping, you are ready and don't need to purchase yet another bag that ends up in the drawer. Grab reusable products, like a Hydrate water carton!

Recycle- Don't just bin it. Products that are easily recycled will be wasted if not separated into their correct bins. This is an easy one.

Alternatives- At Hydrate we offer our water in paper water cartons. These cartons are collected by local authorities and then shipped to the carton mill where they are separated down and broken down and reused. Other alternatives would be simply carrying your few items of shopping to the car, using a metal straw or buying products made with sustainable packaging.

You will make a difference. If we can all individually make planet conscious decisions, then we can start to undo the pollution we have made. Ocean clean ups are becoming more regular but if we keep throwing more in, then its a never ending cycle. That litter ends up sitting on landfill, which is no better than the ocean! Join Team Hydrate today and lets make a better tomorrow. Recycle, Reuse, Rehydrate!