Updated: May 13
It turned out that you eat plastic nearly every day. Yes, you! No matter whether you sit in Europe, Asia or Africa. How come?
Plastic in the ocean is one of the problems of our time. The sad part is that it is not a problem of our millenia, but for the coming millenia as well, since the plastic at sea takes much longer time to decompose, than a pizza delivery from the North to the South Pole by foot.
Jokes aside, between 4,8 and 12,7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year. It can be in form of large identifiable items or as micro plastics - pieces under five millimetres in length. You can even see it on the underwater footage in the video.
You think it just lies on the ground and waits until it decomposes? That would be at least something, but no. 100.000 sea creatures die each year from being tangled in plastic. And not only that - 1 million seabirds as well!
You want to know how many baby sea turtles have plastic in their stomach? 100% No kidding.
Alright, next question. How many percent of the sea surface is polluted by plastic waste? 88%.
You think it will not affect you because you don’t live in the sea? Wrong again.
The fish mistakes the plastic for food - the fish eats the plastic - the fish is caught and served on your plate - you eat the plastic too. Remember that you are what you eat. Currently 1/3 of fish caught has plastic. And if you eat fish - you eat plastic.
There are many solutions to this problem. The main one is to educate the people around about the importance of preserving the environment. Because it is people who dump it. If they understand the importance and fragility of the sea, the amounts of plastic entering the sea will reduce drastically. Eradicate and educate. That is the way.
The other thing to do is to buy and use cotton nets instead of nylon. Even if they get stuck on the rocks and wrecks, they would still decompose, unlike nylon nets, that will keep strangling the fish for many years to come.
We learned all that after visiting the diving center in Dakar - the Oceanium.
Johana Zeinab El Ali and her team are examples of people, who should be looked up to. They dive on a regular basis to retrieve plastic waste and nylon fishing nets from the ocean floor around Dakar. They do it to attract attention to the issue and show other Senegalese that the ocean is not a place for plastic.
Their results speak for themselves:
50 tonnes of nets recovered.
5000 people reached and affected by their awareness campaigns.
5000 volunteers attracted for cleaning operations in fishing villages.
We participated in one of the regular dives near the island of Gorée. It was a tricky dive with a catch, that left us with mixed feelings - on the one hand, we managed to collect a lot of plastic waste and nets, but on the other hand, we realised that there is so much more to be done.
The good news is that thanks to Oceanium, this practical work goes on and they keep inspiring others to start respecting the ocean as you would respect yourself. No big steps and measures are needed if we all make a small step towards a cleaner sea ourselves.
If you want to do something good to the sea - start with yourself. Recycle plastic. Do not throw any waste into the sea. Because there is a high chance of you getting it back on your plate any time in the future.
You can learn more about their activities on their web-site:
Keep the oceans clean!