Billions of pieces of plastic on coral reefs send disease soaring, research reveals:
This study didn’t originate as a plastic one, but they couldn’t avoid it. The correlation between plastic and disease was strong across 159 reefs over three years. That is terrifying.
- Coral reefs in the [Asia Pacific] region are contaminated with ~11bn pieces of plastic
- At least 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year
- The correlation between plastic pollution and high rates of disease was very striking
- Researchers think sharp plastic fragments cut the coral organisms, while plastic fabrics smother them and block out light and oxygen.
- “Plastics are ideal vessels for microorganisms, with pits and pores, so it’s like cutting yourself with a really dirty knife.”
Your single-use plastic use may be a drop in the ocean, but it ALL counts. I’ve not managed to get rid of all plastic, but here’s what I do:
– Worked on saying “No straw” and “No plastic bag” automatically when ordering or shopping. The straw one was hard to keep remembering, but it’s habit now.
– Bring my own containers if I buy meat at the supermarket so it doesn’t go in a plastic bag. They just stick the price label on the lid.
– Buy my veggies from the local market, they’re always wrapped in plastic in the supermarket. Obviously bringing my own shopping bags.
– Try to buy the products that don’t come with plastic packaging or buy in bulk so it’s less.
– Shifting to more natural “beauty products” so I don’t have to keep buying the packaged stuff. I use virgin coconut oil as a cleanser, and have started buying Lush no-packaging shampoos etc when I can.
– Bring my own boxes for takeaways. Asking for pizza leftovers in foil, not plastic.
– Shifting to glass Tupperware and metal wire hangers.
– Use beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap.
– I can’t bring myself to buy plastic jewellery anymore, it just seems so superfluous, or little plastic trinkets. Luckily Lumago is right on my door step.
Living in Philippines, a tropical country with humidity and oh-so-many ants can make plastic harder to escape from, plus it’s so automatic to be given a plastic bag for everything. Working on one plastic aspect of my life (saying no to straws) was the catalyst to actively noticing what I was buying/consuming. With the decision to drastically cut down plastic use, it became a lot easier to get creative with solutions.
My advice is not to get overwhelmed by it all, and just to start with one thing. That already makes a difference. Keep in mind your decision to reduce plastic consumption and don’t beat yourself up for forgetting. Just keep improving. That’s all any of us can do.