Plastic debris has become as ubiquitous to U.S. beaches as sand, surf, and shells. Every year, cleanup crews through the country collect millions of pounds of plastic trash from beaches and coastal waterways, with the most coming from California’s 1,100-mile coastline.
How do you like your oysters? Probably not with a side of fishing line or a plastic bag.
This video, created by Katrin Peters for SOS Plastic, shows a couple on a seemingly romantic date. It’s less appealing, though, when you see what accompanies their dinner:
Part of a global campaign to raise awareness and unite international groups against marine plastic pollution, SOS Plastic aims to show how plastics in the oceans affect the entire world.
Every year we use millions of tons of plastic in packaging, water bottles, single-use bags, fishing line and more. The qualities that are so useful to humans – its durability, light weight, and lack of decomposition – make plastic a dangerous material once it gets into the oceans. Polymers can last for decades, if not centuries, which leads to an enormous accumulation of plastic in the oceans.
In 1992, the EPA found that the majority of the world’s beaches showed some sort of plastic accumulation. You might have seen bottles, bags, or fishing nets washed up on the shore, but the real danger lies in what you can’t see.
When exposed to the sun and water, plastics break apart into tiny pieces, called microplastics. These little bits of trash don’t decompose in the water; instead, they get eaten by plankton then travel up through the food chain. Microplastics carry chemicals at extreme levels that can cause illness in both marine animals and humans when we eat seafood.
Many states and counties are starting to limit or ban plastic bags, like Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. You can help by reducing your plastic use – bring reusable bags to the grocery store or farmer’s market, carry a drink in a stainless steel water bottle, and make sure that when you do use plastics you recycle. Sign the Plastics Pledge today to prevent the ocean from getting trashed.