The beach is one of the place where we can see better the quantity of plastic that ends in the natural environment.
Everyday objects and microplastics
We can distinguish two kinds of plastic on our beaches:
1. The most visible, that has the shape of objects, among them:
- Food packaging.
- Beverage, personal care or washing product bottles and its caps.
- Disposable crockery.
All the plastic of the beaches does not have the shape of recognisable items. Most of it is very small pieces hidden in the sand, resulting of the deterioration of larger pieces from the sun radiation and mechanical forces in the sea like waves. If we look closely to the sand we can see a lot of them as they stand out through their colour and brightness.
Where is all this plastic from?
The plastic we find at the seaside is not only the trash people leave after spending time on the beach. We can distinguish 3 different sources:
1. A small part of it is actually what we leave on the beach after enjoying it. It’s is clear that we have the responsibility to leave the beach clean after we spend time on it. But let us make no mistake, the principal source of marine litter is not there.
2. The most part of the plastic we find on the cost has spent days, months and even years floating in the sea. They are the result of our daily plastic wastes, that because of bad management, ends up in our oceans. Either because we throw them directly to the floor, or because bins and landfills where they are collected are not well isolated, they travel to the ocean because of the wind and via rivers.
3. Another source of the marine debris is the plastic from wastes thrown away, deliberately or not, by fishing, recreational or transport boats.
What can we do?
It is now clear that our responsibility towards our beaches goes beyond cleaning up our waste after spending the day on it. We must reconsider the way we consume and become aware that all the plastic we throw away can potentially end up in the sea. We cannot forget that when we throw something away it disappears from view but not from the Earth and our great responsibility is to reduce our plastic wastes. To manage it, the only way is to reduce our consumption of this material.
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