Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

‘Every day we see plastic’ — The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: How should we feel?

Source: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova

History of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

What is the Patch actually made of?

It’s worse than that:

Turn it off

Source: Pexels / Tom Fisk

Hard truths

  • 2.5 billion people rely on fish for 20% of their animal protein. Polluted oceans means polluted fisheries, which means polluted us.
  • By 2050, scientists estimate, there could be as much plastic as there are fish in the ocean. Plastic is literally designed to defeat natural decay. It is both our trump card and our downfall.
  • 99% of ocean-dwelling plastic waste is unaccounted for. The island is unseen.
  • Plastic chokes the ocean’s ability to trap CO2, thereby exacerbating global heating.

Is there room for hope?

What can we do as consumers / voters?

  • Avoid high-density polyethylene. This stuff makes soap bottles, toothbrushes, many consumer goods that float in the ‘garbage patch’, and elsewhere. Choose Lush, or Ethique, or any of the proliferation of ethical cosmetics companies. Try shampoo bars, rock salt deodorant, bamboo toothbrushes, all that jazz — see if it works for you.
  • Shop at wet markets, or simply do not use single-use plastic bags some supermarkets use to wrap fruit and veg.
  • Buy local, Soil Association certified, organic, etc.
  • Carry a tote bag for food shopping / groceries, and a refillable, washable water bottle.
  • Vote for the party with the greenest policies.

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”

Source: Pexels / Lucien Wanda



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Bruno Cooke

Bruno Cooke

UK author/journalist writing about long distance cycle trips, cultural differences and global politics. Visit