Are We Compartmentalizing Climate Change By Only Focus On Plastic Ocean Pollution?
Now and then, we have a wake-up moment about our environment. Some fact we can’t deny lifts the veil of ignorance, and we feel the need for action. It’s been happening with global warming for a while. And, most recently, plastic in our oceans has been top of the agenda.
In truth, this has been rippling under the surface for a while now. Recycling has been coming to the fore across the world. Countries like Switzerland offer incentives by charging for rubbish collection. Environmental leader, Germany, treats failure to recycle as a criminal offense. And, in recent years, the UK start charging for plastic bags.
But, none of this negates the fact we throw away enough plastic each year to circle the earth FOUR times. And, a lot of it ends up in our oceans. In fact, there’s 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. And, 100,000 marine mammals die annually as a result.
And, more statistics like these come the fore every day. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re all on high alert about going zero waste. We buy reusable bags, metal straws, and bamboo toothbrushes. And, that’s great. But, then we sit back, thinking these small efforts are all the change we need.
In reality, that isn’t the case. Aside from the fact that big companies are primarily responsible for plastic waste, this isn’t the only problem facing our oceans. But, we can only cope with one environmental issue at a time. Sadly, by compartmentalizing climate change, we undo our efforts.
After all, plastic may be responsible for 90% of ocean pollution, but it certainly isn’t the only risk. It’s also worth remembering that oil in crude form poses a fair amount of trouble. Oil spills across the world can have catastrophic consequences for marine wildlife and seabirds. Often, the long terms implications can be seen for years. Admittedly, more companies are now turning to prevention technologies like these oil stop valves, which at least work towards containing spills. But, these efforts pale in comparison to the attention plastic’s getting. Many would argue we should also take steps to reduce oil usage by turning to environmentally friendly alternatives.
And, the unspoken issues don’t end there. Everything, from our sewage systems to our farming practices, pose risks for our oceans. Sewage system leaks can cause severe problems for both humans and marine life. And, in areas where farming is rife, animal waste in the water can lead to unwanted hormones and chemicals in our oceans. And, those are also responsible for a fair amount of damage. It seems, then, that we should also track and change our habits and systems here.
While no one can deny that plastic awareness is a positive thing, it’s by no means the only issue worth paying attention to. Even if, by some miracle, we could stop plastic waste, our oceans would still struggle from these issues. So, stop compartmentalizing. Look at the bigger picture if you want any chance of making a change.