A huge amount of the plastics we use ends up in the ocean. Many countries don’t have a good waste management system so large amounts of litter are found in the natural environment. Rivers transport garbage to the open oceans and are responsible for 70-80% of all ocean pastic pollution. The other 20-30% comes from the fishing industry. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch even consists of about 46% of discarded fishing nets, lines, ropes, etc.

Marine animals consume billions of pieces of plastic every day. Many can get entangled in plastics, often fishing gear, and don’t survive the ordeal. The first disease related to plastic has a name, plasticosis. It was first found in birds - when they ingest small pieces of plastic, the digestive tract can get inflamed.

It is a miracle any animal can still live out there with the stuff we throw at them. No single human on this planet wouldn’t agree that this cannot go on like this. Recycling is great, but with the current population growth, the increasing amount of plastics we use and the poor waste management in many countries, recycling is not the solution. There is only one real solution: reduce our plastic use. And think about the impact the (industrial) fishing industry has on pollution, bycatch, overfishing and habitat destruction. Consuming fish means supporting this industry.

A lot of marine plastics degrade into microplastics. But many things we use on a daily basis contain microplastics. Very often they are found in clothing, cosmetics but even shampoo and toothpaste. These small plastics are not filtered out very well in our sewage systems so they end up in the ocean. Plankton, fish, turtles, etc. mistake the microplastics for food and consume it. Microplastics have even been found in coral polyps.

Check our tips reduce plastic waste and stop using microplastics.

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