Today it was reported that yet another of our formerly pristine remote islands has become completely trashed by plastic debris.
Scientific Reports today published research that shows that over 238 tonnes of plastic has been washed up onto the Cocos Keeling Islands.
Plastic is literally destroying our environment and single use plastic consumables make up a huge amount of the problem.
It is time that the Australian government act to remove as much single use plastic from our consumer economy as possible.
Plastic is killing our environment and the knock on effects into the rest of our eco systems can not be underestimated.
Micro-plastics are consumed by fish and birds and then enter the food chain with devastating effect.
On one of Cocos Keeling Islands the density of debris was measured at a peak of 2506 items per square metre. The total damage is estimated at 414 million debris items weighing in at 238 tonnes.
Over a quarter of items were found to be single use plastic consumables such as plastic bottles, straws and an estimated 373,000 toothbrushes.
The Cocos Keeling Islands cover an area of about 14 square kilometres – about twice the area of Melbourne’s central business district and is home to around 700 people. Despite this discarded plastic from around our region ends up landing on the islands and devastating the environment as a result.
Governments around the world need to act on single use plastics urgently. The growth of plastic debris in our environment has increased exponentially over the last 25 years. Plastic bottled water, soft drinks and other every day consumables form much of the problem.
Recent studies have shown micro plastics in bottled water, sea salt and beer. Micro plastics are ingested by krill at the bottom of the marine food chain and are then fragmented into nano sized plastic particles and degrading plastic on beaches release greenhouse gasses that further contribute to climate change.
Consumers can make a difference by rejecting items of single use plastic. Bottled water and soft drinks, plastic straws, soap with plastic wrapping, plastic toothbrushes and plastic cups are common every day items that can be rejected in favour of more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Large corporations and government have largely let us down on environmental matters however consumers have the power to send a clear message to corporations by rejecting plastic where alternatives are offered.
Only through direct actions can we change the status quo and it’s up to all of us to make a difference.