Cover photo by Laurent Vilarem
The situation facing our ocean and the life within it is dire. After watching “A plastic Ocean” on Netflix, I was compelled to act. Immediately I booked flights to the Pacific ocean where the tides move in and out on a daily basis. I was determined to pick up plastic.
Armed with a giant oversized bag from North America, I began filling it. I concentrated on a 50-100m stretch of beach each pickup. I emptied this bag 3 times after filling it. It would take 1-2 hours. Each day I would pick up the plastic, I wasn’t getting all of it, but I was significantly reducing the volume that could surely be swept back out. The ocean is a wonderful body of life, it self cleans with it’s rotating gyres, essentially throwing out junk, much of which lands on shorelines (eventually). This bag can be filled 3x per day within a 50-100M stretch of beach. Every day there was always more plastic washing up. It happens every. single. day.
1. What is the mission?
The ocean is remarkable at cleaning itself. This is why it is so important for us to do our part along the shorelines. My motto is ‘if you see it pick it up,’. Also, ‘if the plastic is extra small, grab it all’. Micro plastics are deadly to animals like birds and fish. Larger plastic items can be deadly for whales. Whales eat by opening up their giant mouths and taking in whatever is floating within that patch of water, fish, plastic, car parts … you name it.
2. What type of plastic do you find the most on the beach?
Bottle caps, throw away forks, spoons and knives. Also those rings around the milk or OJ containers. Try to avoid this type of plastic.
3. Common excuses for not picking up plastic: I forgot a bag. Well, I once used a coconut! My friends at #5MINUTEBEACHCLEAUP have a great solution too, use your t-shirt! Then you can go back to collecting plastic.
4. How can people help today even if they are not at the beach?
If you are not at the beach you can start in your own home. Be careful of what you buy. Don’t grab a bag to put veggies in at the grocery store. Take your own containers – buy water in bulk or buy KANGEN WATER system. Avoid water bottles and make sure to speak up at restaurants. Let them know you do not want any straws. Say no to the Straw! Bring your own cloth bag to carry shopping items in. Bamboo straws, bowls and cutlery are great for temporary use. ‘Plastic’ items can be made from HEMP. Call or write to your favorite brands and let them know.