I’ve been beach cleaning and visiting schools for 2 weeks now in the Philippines as part of a 2000km cycle to raise awareness about the issues of plastic pollution. But there are a few issues with dealing with the problem of plastic pollution via beach clean ups. I love beach clean ups, and I will continue them. I want to be out there, doing my thing, catching the eyes of anyone around. But there’s two problems….
- There is so much plastic that we can’t see. Fibres of polyester clothes end up in the ocean. Plastic bags photo-degrade into smaller and smaller pieces that are impossible to pick up. Then they get eaten by plankton and work their way up the food chain. Like the one in the picture below. I tried to pick this up and it flaked in my hands and was swept up in the sand. It’s made from oil. Toxic. Yuk. Visable plastic is only a small part of the problem.
- Sometimes the message becomes about cleaning up rubbish, instead of using less. And I really really want to promote using less. Ecobags in markets. Reusable everything. Saying no to single use plastic, straws, cups, anything that you use once and then throw away. Because it takes a lot of resources to make which isn’t good for broader environmental goals and sustainability. And it’s near on impossible to dispose of in an appropriate manner. We’ve all got to play our part. Buy the right stuff.
I hope by visiting schools I can share this message, but then again there’s a big jump from knowing something is bad to changing our behaviours. I can see this in my own life and my own journey to quit plastic. Creating new habits takes time. And that’s why we need to start now.
If you want to follow more from my journey please visit the Plastic Free Philippines Facebook Page.