Tackling Ocean Waste
Ocean life is at risk due to our excessive production of plastic. Most ocean pollution starts out on land and is carried by wind and rain to the sea. Once in the water, what continues is an accumulation of waste.
The problem with plastic is that it’s nearly indestructible and to give you an idea of how strong it is, a plastic bottle takes 450 years to decompose an estimated 1000 years to biodegrade. (postconsumers)
Plastic in the oceans affects all wildlife, and creates a whole chain of problems. For example, this article from biologicaldiversity.org states that fish in the North Pacific ingest an estimated 24,000 of plastic each year. That causes most to die, and that plastic eventually ends up in bigger mammals that consume these fish. The effects of these mammals consuming plastic include a multitude of health problems and even death.
The best thing to do is to reduce our use of plastic, re-purpose the plastic we already have, and clean up the ocean. There are a few good examples of people and companies who are doing that.
The Mr. Trash Wheel is a solar powered machine that picks has picked up around 1 million pounds of trash around the Baltimore inner harbor since 2014. Check it out in action here. The reason why this is awesome is because this machine gets its energy from the sun. Also it’s great that it picks up about 50,000 pounds of trash everyday that it’s being used.
In 2016, Sportswear brand Adidas teamed up with Parley to create sneakers made from ocean waste. The sneakers were mainly produced to bring awareness to the problem, but also demonstrated what we can achieve with modern technology. Unfortunately, the first batch of sneakers made for available for purchase was not mass-produced, but Adidas aims to produce at least 1 million pairs by the end of 2017. More info here. I personally like what Adidas is doing because they’re attacking the problem through design and they’re giving waste a new purpose. An added bonus is that because they’re popular with the youth, they might influence them to reduce their use of plastic.