Ghosts and demons have haunted us for as long as humans have walked the Earth, but the real horror at Halloween isn’t Count Dracula. Today (31 October), it’s estimated that approximately 21,000 tonnes of plastic will enter the world’s ocean – that’s about 1.6 times the weight of Big Ben.
These findings have emerged from Sky Ocean Rescue research that uncovered the devastating effect single-use plastic has on ocean health. Fortunately, it also discovered simple and practical solutions for people to reduce plastic waste.
1. The average portion of mussels contains about 90 pieces of microplastic. The chemical contaminants become concentrated and are magnified as they move up the food chain.
2. More than 50% of sea turtles have consumed plastic – once ingested, it can cause blockages within their digestive system and eventual death.
3. 8 million tonnes of plastic goes into the ocean every year – the equivalent of a rubbish truck load every minute hitting the seas.
4. There are 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic on Earth – roughly the same as one billion elephants.
5.On average people will use a plastic bottle for 12 minutes before throwing it away.
Emily Penn, Sky Ocean Rescue Ambassador, said, ‘During my time as skipper on board my eXXpedition North Pacific research trip, I was alarmed by the sheer volume of plastic drifting past. What’s more upsetting is knowledge of the endless tiny shards of plastic that also fill our oceans. The problem of microplastics, found in the stomachs of fish and shellfish, is a worldwide horror.’
‘I’m confident that with a little thought we can not only reduce our single-use plastic consumption on occasions including Halloween, but also in our daily lives’, Emily continued. ‘Little changes like using glass tumblers for drinks and buying paper plates at parties make a big difference, and I truly believe that everyone can contribute to making our oceans a better place.’
Here are Emily Penn’s three easy ways to have a plastic-free Halloween:
1. Get creative with plastic-free decorations. Carve a real Jack-O Lantern from a pumpkin, make your own spooky papier-mâché bunting from old material and decorate reusable trick-or-treat bags rather than using plastic shop-bought buckets.
2. Pick eco-friendly cutlery. If entertaining on this ghoulish night, up the chic-factor and impress your guests with wooden cutlery, glass tumblers and paper plates.
3. Trick or treat with homemade treats rather than sweets wrapped in excessive plastic. Dole out tasty homemade baked goods and sweet delights instead.
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