Did you know that our oceans cover 70% of the worlds surface? They produce at least 50% of the worlds oxygen and absorb around 30% of the carbon dioxide we humans produce. Our oceans are home to the most biodiverse places on earth.
Today is World Oceans Day. Whilst it’s a great opportunity to highlight the issues and problems our seas are facing on a global scale, we must also take the time to see a positive movement and how we can get involved to help.
The Ocean Cleanup
This inspirational project is the brainchild of Boyan Slat. At 16 years on a diving holiday, he became concerned that he found more plastic in the water than fish. This inspired a huge project which today removes up to 50% of plastic from the oceans and actively tries to intercept it before it reaches there.
Sophisticated engineering is behind trawlers designed to pick up plastic, caught up in the ocean’s currents, and convert it to energy as well as placing ‘interceptors’ - a kind of plastic filter - in plastic pollution hot spots.
Plastic Eating Bacteria
A great solution for those who like a bit of a sci-fi twist to saving the planet. In 2016, two teams of researchers in Japan identified 'Ideonella sakaiensis'. Bacterial microbes that break down 75% of plastics in the study.
It isn’t just bacteria that can make a meal of plastic. The Waxworm, so-called as it has been known to feed on beeswax, has a unique gut bacteria that converts plastic used for shopping bags into a food source.
Ironically, it’s nature that could provide us with a large part of the solution. We’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of ways that natural organisms can help rid us of the plastic already in circulation. There are worms, mushrooms and microbes all currently being studied for their abilities to convert plastic into an energy source.
It’s encouraging to see that after amounting pressure, large conglomerates and world leaders are starting to take climate change seriously and that the need for change is finally having an impact on the global population.
More and more consumers are looking for solutions to plastic packaging. There are more options for those looking to lead a greener lifestyle.
Organisations such as Plastic Pollution Coalition, Surfers Against Sewage, Greenpeace and the WWF are pulling together to make an impact on reducing the pollution to our oceans. Whilst It’s important to accept the gravity of the damage that has been done in the 20th century, the global community is now finding the resources to reverse that damage.