Over the past 60 years or so, plastic in the form of packaging, containers and tools has become an everyday part of our lives everywhere on the planet.
From hip replacements and plastic helmets worn by building workers to diapers and disposable toothbrushes, plastic has been viewed by many as a necessity to everyday living. Yet when plastic reaches our oceans as plastic bottles, bags or micro-beads, it poses a long-term threat to all living things in the ocean, and ultimately to us humans who rely on fish as a source of food.
According to Greenpeace, around 245 million tonnes of plastic are used each year throughout the world. And, it says, 12.7 million tonnes of that plastic enters the oceans each year – that’s the equivalent of a truckload of rubbish every minute.
A European Union report on the ecological and health impact of plastic waste notes how In the marine environment, the most well documented impacts are entanglement and ingestion by wildlife, yet other effects are the alteration of habitats and the transport of alien species.
The EU study makes it clear that perhaps one of the most difficult impacts to fully understand, but also potentially one of the most concerning, is the impact of chemicals associated with plastic waste.
The authors sate: "There are several chemicals within plastic material itself that have been added to give it certain properties such as Bisphenol A, phthalates and flame retardants. These all have known negative effects on human and animal health, mainly affecting the endocrine system. There are also toxic monomers, which have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems."
At Bluewater we want to help halt the flow of disposable plastic – and especially single-use plastic bottles - into our oceans. We believe we need to reduce the amount of plastic being used and find alternatives that can be reused or recycled.
On this Earth Hour Day, we ask governments and city authorities worldwide to start a process of removing the plastic tide swamping our precious oceans by quickly introducing deposit return schemes for plastic bottles and to encourage comprehensive plastic waste collection and recycling systems.