Posts tagged: environment

Top 10 Trash Found In The World’s Oceans

Top 10 Trash Found In The World's Oceans
Top 10 Trash Found In The World’s Oceans. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com.

In one of its “International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)” reports, the Ocean Conservancy compiled a top 10 list of litter collected in waterways and beaches around the world. [1]

1. Cigarette Butts (2,117,931): As a lot of trash finds its way to the oceans through sewers and drainage, it is no surprise that cigarette butts make this list. Millions of people smoke multiple cigarettes a day which are then tossed away casually. Through drainage and gutters, these cigarettes end up in the oceans.

2. Food Wrappers/Containers (1,140,222): The worst part about most of these food wrappers is that they are not bio-degradable. A rise in the fast-food industry has largely contributed to this with single-use containers being disposed of in large numbers.

3. Plastic Beverage Bottles (1,065,171): Tying into plastic food wrappers, most (if not all) plastic soda and water bottles are not bio-degradable – and their sale is increasing.

4. Plastic Bags (1,019,902): Plastic bags that are used to package food end up in the ocean, entangling the wildlife and even choking them.

5. Caps/Lids (958,893): Plastic bottle caps may not seem like a big deal but they are dangerous in their numbers. Add that to the fact that they can be easily swallowed – and the danger levels multiply.

6. Cups/Plates/Cutlery (692,767): Thumbs down to manufacturing and packaging companies using non-bio-degradable plastics. These utensils may pose a physical threat to birds and marine life.

7. Straws/ Stirrers (611,048): While they are being phased out, the impact of plastic straws on our oceans is still noticeable.

8. Glass Beverage Bottles (521,730): As high as this number looks, it does not tell the whole story. Glass bottles sink to the bottom of the ocean – where they are hard to retrieve but still pose a risk to marine life. And did you know they can take 1 million years to break down?

9. Beverage Cans (339,875): Metal beverage cans are lined with sharp edges that may pose physical harm to animals – yet they line the ocean floor.

10. Paper Bags (298,332): An often overlooked pollutant, paper bags as detrimental to the environment as much as plastics bags.

References:

[1] Ocean Conservancy https://oceanconservancy.org/.

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Top 10 Trash Found In The World's Oceans
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One Year In American Junk Mail

One Year In American Junk Mail
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Images source – Pixabay (PD).

Did you know that the average American spends nearly 1 year of his/her life sorting through junk mail? [1] We are all familiar with the annoying feeling of dealing with coupon packets, credit card offers, subscriptions you don’t remember, and other forms of junk mail. It now turns out that those unwelcome letters in your mailbox have a negative ecological impact.

Horrifying Statistics on American Junk Mail

According to statistics from the New York University School of Law, the average American household receives 848 pieces (roughly 41 pounds) of junk mail in a year. [2] This translates to 100 billion pieces of junk mail nationwide – of which 44% is trashed unopened.

The unfortunate part about this statistic is that around 100 million trees are taken down to create that much paper. To put this into perspective, you’d have to cut down every tree on Rocky Mountain National Park thrice every year. Even worse, junk mail manufacturing is responsible for 51 million tons of greenhouse gases – the equivalent of emissions from 3.7 million cars.

Sure, some might argue that the paper is recycled and the trees are grown sustainably – but that’s not the whole story. A large number of wild trees are chopped down to meet the demand for paper. And according to a NASA-funded study, the production of pulpwood has the highest carbon footprint of all wood products. [3]

So, what’s the way forward? Two words: Proactive Action! To facilitate a sustainable society, the change should start at the individual level. Start by opting out of those unnecessary subscriptions and supporting recycling efforts.

References:

[1] Frequently Asked Questions about Junk Mail https://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/faqs.

[2] NYU School Of Law http://www.law.nyu.edu/about/sustainability/whatyoucando/junkmail.

[3] Attribution of net carbon change by disturbance type across forest lands of the conterminous United States https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-016-0066-5.

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One Year In American Junk Mail
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10 Things You Can Do For Trash Free Seas

10 Things You Can Do For Trash Free Seas
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

Over 8 million tons of plastic trash is deposited in our oceans every year. [1] But this is not just from trash “thrown into the ocean”. Once trash finds its way into streams and rivers, perhaps washed there after a storm, it very often finds its way down to the sea. If this trend continues, the plastic waste could be equivalent to 33% of all fish mass in a few years. To curb this terrible, civilization-endangering trend, every one needs to take proactive action against trash:

1. Can It: Dispose of your garbage properly by throwing it in bins that have lids. This prevents lightweight plastics from being blown away.

2. Avoid Bottled Water: Plastic bottles are one of the main trashes in the oceans. Rather than create demand by buying bottled water, drink tap water.

3. Stow It: In line with Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate Program, practice sustainable boating practices while out on the sea.

4. Request Change: Actively push your legislators to enforce healthy, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable policies.

5. Remove It: Join beach clean-up initiatives to help raise awareness on the impact of plastic pollution.

6. Butt Out: Cigarette filters are the most abundant litter in the oceans. Practice proper disposal habits by using an ashtray, rather than flinging the butt haphazardly.

7. Recycle It: Sort and recycle plastics to minimize the number of items that are dumped in landfills and oceans. This reduces pollution and helps save natural resources.

8. Reuse It: Just like recycling, reusing products saves on energy and fosters a culture of prioritizing durable items over single-use products.

9. Refuse It: Consumers don’t realize that they hold the real power. By reducing the amount of plastic we buy, we can dissuade companies from manufacturing the products.

10. Reinvent It: Advocate for the creation of ocean-friendly materials that have minimal adverse effects on the environment. This includes shunning the reliance on fossil fuels.

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10 Things You Can Do For Trash Free Seas
Graphic ©herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).