Did you know that an estimated 100 million tons of plastic debris have accumulated in two areas of the Pacific Ocean that together are larger than the continental United States? (These areas are aptly called the Eastern and Western Garbage Patches.) There is so much plastic, that it outnumbers the zooplankton six to one. Plastic, like diamonds, are forever.
It doesn’t biodegrade and no naturally occurring organisms can break it down. Plastic photo-degrades, which means that sunlight breaks it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Those small pieces drift in the ocean and are mistaken for food by fish and birds.
Seabirds are often found dead with innards full of plastic. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for food and are often found dead with their intestines clogged by plastic bags. Sadly, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year due to ingestion of or entanglement in plastics.
The scope of the problem is astounding, but the Surfrider Foundation is working, through our Rise Above Plastics Campaign, to discourage the use of single-use plastics and encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle. We’re asking you to make a pledge to Rise Above Plastics.
I pledge to rise above plastics and reduce the amount of plastic waste I generate on a daily basis by doing one or more of the following:
- Stop using single use plastic grocery bags and use reusable bags instead
- Use refillable bottles instead of buying single-use plastic water bottles
- Buy products with the least amount of packaging
- Recycle any and all plastics that I use
- Pick up at least one piece of trash or litter off the ground each day
If you think that your pledge won’t make much of a difference, think again. For each reusable bag you use, another 400 plastic bags will be kept from being used. Every reusable water bottle will keep another 167 plastic bottles from entering the environment. You can visit Rise Above Plastics now and find out 10 things you can do right now to rise above plastics!
Our chapter is beginning training for the RAP program. If you are interested, please contact us from our contact page.