With a history of plastic waste mismanagement, it should be no surprise that some eight million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the ocean each year. From the microbeads the beauty industry uses in face wash to PET bottles, we are constantly contributing to the problem. Plastic waste does considerable damage to the environment, costing billions of dollars, but it is also a major risk to marine life. What may come as a surprise is that ocean plastic is disappearing. So, where is it going?
How Plastics Impact Marine Life
For the last decade, scientists and researchers have been trying to determine just that – where is the ocean plastic disappearing to? There are three answers to that.
The first is that a lot of it sinks to the ocean’s depths and becomes buried in seafloor sediment. It is immovable at that point and will likely never rise to the surface. However, it is also being ingested by wildlife and in many cases, it’s on your dinner plate.
Many animals consume plastic, which contributes to both the deep burying and its appearance on dinner plates. Various studies over the last decade show just how many sea creatures consume plastic and as plastic breaks down into pieces almost invisible to the naked eye, it means even the smallest sea creatures may consume it.
The most obvious and visible impact on marine life is three-fold – entanglement, suffocation, and ingestion. This includes whales, turtles, seabirds, and fish. They are all at risk of mistaking plastic for prey and consuming it. They are also at risk of cuts and infections which can lead to internal injuries or an inability to swim. Additionally, when plastic floats, it can disrupt the area’s biodiversity by transporting invasive species.
How Plastics in Waterways Is Bad For Human Health
From toxic plastic to the most basic components, when plastic gets into waterways it becomes a pollutant that spreads throughout the column. The toxins don’t just impact the ocean and its life, they serve as sponges soaking up an array of additional toxins before they even hit the water. So, all of those toxins spill into the water and the animals within that water ingest the plastic and toxins. It’s bad news for humans because humans ingest fish and other animals that have been contaminated.
Plastic carries direct toxicity from mercury, lead, and cadmium, and these known toxins have been found in many fish. There are also plastics that contain carcinogens, which are directly linked to cancer, as well as a host of other health issues. The plastics typically used to create drinks bottles and food packaging can enter the body in a variety of ways and are known to interfere with hormone function.
While studies are ongoing to determine the ultimate danger to humans, the research so far is clear – plastics in waterways are bad for human health. Unless we can get a grip on our plastic waste and make recycling the new normal, it will only get worse.
What To Do With Plastics
The easiest answer is – to recycle it. In addition to using the recycling bin the council provides homes, you can use a Sydney rubbish removal company to haul away any extras. By enlisting the services of a professional, you ensure the plastic you use is being properly recycled.
Of course, you can also set out to reduce how much plastic you use on a daily basis. For example, there are plenty of brands that produce reduced packaging or large refills so you can reuse smaller plastic bottles. Take advantage of this where possible, and look for recyclable or reusable plastics to limit how much you put in the recycling bin.
If you can’t reduce how much plastic you use, you should always recycle it properly. Use the recycling symbols on packaging and bottles to ensure you are disposing of them properly.
How Cheapest Load of Rubbish Can Help
If you are looking for professional help to recycle well, then Cheapest Load of Rubbish can help. From hauling away your recycling to clearing out garden waste and even disposing of deceased estates, Cheapest Load of Rubbish provides rubbish removal in Sydney. We provide a wide range of services, from residential and commercial rubbish removal to construction and hard waste collection. We can uplift your old mattresses, clear out household rubbish, lift garden waste and white goods, and remove old furniture. If you are clearing out an old shed, gutting your garage or having an intense spring clean, Cheapest Load of Rubbish can haul it all away.
You can use our online booking form to arrange a quote. We will send out a team to assess your rubbish and provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. In some cases, we can uplift your waste then and there, but if that isn’t suitable, we can arrange to uplift it at a more convenient time.