An expedition by American Explorer Victor Vescovo into the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, has been a success – but with a shocking discovery.
The dive is a new world record at 10,927 metres, the deepest ever made by a human inside a submarine.
Texas investor Vescovo and his team believe they have discovered four new species but that’s not all they found down there.
In the five dives during the expedition, plastic bags and sweet wrappers were discovered on the ocean’s floor.
It’s not unusual for plastic waste to be found in deep sea dives. In fact, there is an estimated 100 million tonnes of it in the world’s oceans.
The plastic problem
Plastic is versatile, durable and has millions of uses – and that’s why it’s also such a big problem.
There is no version of this world where plastic can’t exist. We need it. You’re using it right now to read this article. The issue lies in how we use it, and how we discard of it.
Single-use plastics cause the majority of our plastic problem. Carrier bags, for example, how many of them are used in an average weekly shop? I keep re-usable bags in my boot, but I’ve only done that in the last two years. Before then I was guilty of using three or four bags each week.
Whip out the calculator.
I’m 27, let’s say I’ve been responsible for a weekly food shop for seven years and for two of them I have been using re-usable bags. That makes five years using three plastic bags in each weekly food shop – 780 bags.
780 plastic bags used by a single person.
And that’s just the weekly food shop carrier bags.
What about the food packaging? What about packaging for all the other products that I buy?
Every little helps
It’s easy to become deflated after reading studies about the decline of our wildlife, the unhealthy state that our planet is in and the harmful effects this has on future generations.
Feel deflated. Be frustrated. Let your emotions open your eyes to what changes you can make to your daily life to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Re-usable plastic bags
- Don’t bag your vegetables in the shop
- Stop buying bottled water
- Take a thermos to the coffee shop
- No straws
- Stop using disposable razors.
It’s easy to ignore a problem when it feels like it can’t be solved in our lifetime. It’s true that the biggest thing that can be done to significantly reduce rising CO2 levels, is for governments to make change.
But making the changes listed above are significant personal actions.
Make your changes. Be proud. But don’t forget to educate.
Sit down with your family, the dog included – speak about how you can all work together to reduce your carbon footprint.