Here be dragons — The Unknown Ocean Menace

The Dragons

There is a growing monster in our oceans, one whose menace eclipses any mythical sea beast that medieval draftsmen imagined whilst scrawling “here be dragons” on those dark unexplored oceans hundreds of years ago. Like then we created them and yet know very little about it, but unlike then now the beast is not a figment of our imagination. It is very real.

It is a paradoxical creature, its mysterious yet it is in everything we can’t do without, everyday we touch it, use it and we even throw it away. Yet it never goes away!

This beast, this mysterious sea dragon is… Plastic! Plastic Waste to be precise; Anti-climatic? Not a new creature unknown to Science perhaps? Far from it! This indispensable part of modern life is threatening to turn on its masters, wreaking havoc in our oceans, waterways, beaches and ultimately our lives in ways we are only starting to understand.

Their impact?

8 million tonnes of menace are being dumped in our oceans each year, adding to the estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of floating plastic and a to problem that is growing to truly epic proportions.

Here is a short video summarising the very scary and real impacts:

The average piece of plastic takes about 500 years to degrade. Yet we use it once and throw it away. How does that make sense? What we throw away will outlive us by over 400 years! That’d mean if our draftsmen tossed his (often non-recyclable) coffee cup overboard as he scrawled “Here be Dragons”, it’d still be floating on our oceans today!

So drastic is this threat that the UN Environmental Programme in a Report this year calls Marine Litter & Plastics a “common concern for humanity” on par with climate change.

But what can you and I do?

The problem is huge and complex, but it all starts with you and I, starting small. Small changes are easy to make and on large enough scale day to day can have the biggest impact.

Some easy examples

About a year ago I started reducing, reusing and recycling and I’ve made some big changes with little effort, here are some exmaples.

Reducing by buying food with less packaging, not using non recyclable cups, plates, knifes and forks, no to plastic straws, no to plastic bags.

Reusing buying a multi-use coffee cup and plastic bottle, this alone could have the biggest impact — 2.5 billion coffee cups being thrown out per year!

Recycling taking the 5 minutes to read my local Council’s recycling advice on what it can and cant recycle.

For more visit examples visit MCS and dont forget be careful what you flush!

I believe that through a Drive for Awareness on the seriousness of this issue and a Drive for Action to do something about it we can effect and Drive Change. The Change that is needed to check and even reduce the menace of this Sea Monster.

The Plastic Tide

As such, I’ve working on a project that will encapsulate these principles in a single Drive, The Plastic Tide. This will be a Drive to places where Marine Plastics and Litter is most visible; our beaches.

More on this project in my next blog!

(sources to be posted)