On June, 8th, we celebrated World Oceans Day. The oceans cover 70% of our planet, so it’s fitting that we join together to celebrate them!
World Oceans Day is the official UN-designated international day of ocean celebration. On June 8th each year, we celebrate the ocean, its importance in our lives, and how we can protect it.
This year’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” and individuals and organisations across the planet are taking action for prevention of plastic pollution in our ocean.
At Water-to-Go, our mission is to eliminate the need for single-use plastic (SUP) water bottles by offering a safe, environmentally friendly alternative, which delivers clean, filtered water, from nearly any source, anywhere in the world.
So, for World Oceans Day 2016, we take a look at SUP water bottles and how they can affect our planet.
Plastic is used everywhere. Why? It’s extremely durable, lightweight, cheap and versatile, which is why it has replaced materials, such as metal, glass and wood. The global production of plastics is now around 265 million tonnes per year! Unfortunately, plastics are one of the most hazardous forms of litter when in our oceans.
Plastics are made from hydrocarbons and hence, very difficult to breakdown. When they’re in the sea, plastic breaks down at a very slow rate.
“Estimates for plastic degradation at sea range from 450 to 1,000 years. However, plastics may never fully degrade; they simply break down into smaller and smaller fragments and ultimately into microscopic plastic pieces or plastic dust.”– Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Pollution Policy & Position Statement.
The Marine Conservation Society, the largest marine charity in the UK, also highlight the amount of plastics that actually end up in our oceans:
“A study of the distribution and abundance of large marine debris on continental shelves and slopes in European seas recorded concentrations up to 101,000 pieces of debris per km2 (Galgani et al., 2000). At most sample stations, plastic (mainly bags and bottles) accounted for more than 70% of the total debris.”
The MCS have recorded the shocking amount of plastic waste that is made up from SUP bottles:
“During the 2014 Great British Beach Clean 7,962 drinks bottles and 14,750 caps and lids were found. Plastic drinks bottles accounted for 2.8% of all litter and had a density of 69 items/km. Caps and lids accounted for 5.4% of total litter with an average density of 132 items/km.”
So, how do SUP bottles make it into our oceans in the first place? Simple, we live in a throw away society. We all know the importance of recycling, however, it’s not always an option, especially when we are out of the house and there are no recycling bins near by. The situation can be even worse when we’re on holiday. You’re in a hot country so are consuming more water to top up your hydration levels. You may choose bottled water for a number of reasons – you don’t trust the local tap water, it tastes better and is convenient. But unfortunately, not all countries have the resources to recycle. That means we just don’t know where it will end up. Either in a landfill or floating in the Sea where it will be broken down into small enough pieces to be eaten and end up in the food chain. Or worse, it could contribute to the 100,000 marine mammals and 1,000,000 sea birds that are killed each year from ingesting plastics.
So, how can we reduce the amount of plastic bottles in our oceans?
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The simplest way is to try and reduce the amount of SUP we consume, and when we do use plastic, make sure we can reuse it and recycle it. As previously mentioned, recycling can be hard when we don’t have a special bin outside but it is absolutely vital in order to prevent plastic pollution.
We have partnered with the MCS this June for their ‘Plastic Challenge’. The challenge is to say goodbye to conveniences like pre-packed sandwiches, ready meals and plastic-bottled drinks for a day, a week or the whole month.
MCS offers help and advice through an online community all through the month of June. There is also an online shop with products to help you say goodbye to plastic waste. Our Water-to-Go, 75cl and GO! Filter Bottles are available and to celebrate the Plastic Challenge we’ve got 15% off using the code MCS16 at checkout. Not only do you get a discount, we’ll match the discount and donate 15% directly to MCS.