Here are the facts according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition:
Plastic won't just disappear.
Plastic creates pollution in our water table.
Plastic disrupts the food chain.
Plastic affects out health.
If plastic pollution is such a problem, then what is the solution?
What Are We Doing About Plastic Ocean Pollution?
There are three things we can do now about plastic pollution:
Reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate.
Improve how we manage our trash and waste management.
Increase the amount of plastics we capture and recycle.
Some states have already started taking action. Hawaii has a statewide ban of non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout. New York was the third state to ban plastic bags in 2019. Five other states followed suit: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, and Maine.
It's a good start, but plastics of all sizes still find their way into the water. Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic gets dumped into our oceans.
Trash Islands like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Ocean and the trash islands in Honduras and the garbage patch larger than Mexico in the water of the South Pacific seem far away and daunting.
What should be our overall goal? To live in a world with clean water and no plastics where cleanup solutions like the Seabin trash collector aren't necessary. Unfortunately, we aren't there yet and probably won't be for awhile.
Once we reduce the amount of plastic we generate and how we manage the plastic in our landfills, we can address the plastic in our waters.
What Can We Do About Plastic Pollution At Home?
We can bring effective change by participating in ocean cleanups, reducing our plastic footprint, and learning more about how plastics affect us. By cleaning up the beaches, harbors, and stormwater drains where the plastic originates, we can lessen our plastic footprint.
Plastic Pollution on Beaches
Organizing a community beach cleanup is one way to collect plastics and make sure they don't end up polluting our oceans. If plastics are floating near a shoreline, a debris containment boom can corral trash and debris for easy collection.
Pollution in Harbors and Marinas
Pollutants from boats, restaurants, and people end up in harbors and marinas. Organizing a group to clean a marina or harbor is not always feasible, and skimming the surface of the water with a net is a temporary solution that requires dedicated manpower and time.
Debris In Lagoons and River Harbors
Before plastics migrate to the giant garbage patches in our oceans, they originate in rivers and lagoon, leaching chemicals into the water table. Debris and trash in this area can also be contained through a floating debris boom.
There's another way to catch plastics in lagoons and harbors.
Seabin Trash Collector Solution
Imagine being able to capture plastics before they float off shore and into the large patches in our oceans. One way to do this is with a floating ocean trash can called the Seabin.
The perfect place for Seabins to exist is in marinas, harbors, and lagoons where waves are minimal and the environments are relatively controlled. From its creation in 2014 and 2015, the Seabin project has been capturing hundreds of thousands of kilograms of trash.
The Seabin trash collector pumps polluted water, capturing plastic and trash in a reusable catch bag.
The Seabin can also help to collect some micro-plastics from the water. Micro-plastics are so small that plankton, organisms on the far end of the food chain, eat them and contaminate the rest of the food chain. As chemicals are leached into the water and pollute our food chain, we are exposed to potential cancers, birth defects, immune system diseases, and other problems.
A Seabin trash collector's reusuable catch bag has the ability to retain micro-plastic as small as 2 millimeters.
It's Clear: Plastic Pollution Needs To Be Stopped
By collecting plastics where they originate, in stormwater drains, harbors, marinas, and lagoons, we take a step in the right direction toward reducing our collective plastic footprint.
What's the bottom line? People, businesses, and communities need to work together to reduce our plastic impact. How? Through beach cleanups, community trash collecting on local shorelines, and sponsoring a Seabin trash collector for local harbors, marinas, and lagoons.
We have cigarette receptacles on beaches and trash cans on every street corner, so floating trash bins in our harbors and marinas is a logical next step. Cleaner oceans start by taking care of our plastic pollution right at home.