The plastic problem?
Basking sharks, Cetorhinus maximus, are the world's second largest shark and the largest we see here in the British Isles. Growing up to an impressive 12m in length these gentle giants feed on a diet of plankton! They lead very mysterious lives during the winter but during the summer months we see them in large numbers aggregating in the Sea of the Hebrides, which has now been designated as an MPA - the first of its kind for basking sharks! Filter feeders could be particularly vulnerable to ingesting microplastics, but due to their large size we haven't been able to assess whether or not this is the case. All species, including ourselves are now at a huge risk from our over reliance on plastics. Plastic has been found in unborn children and even in our blood.
What can I do to help?
There are so many things you can do in your day to day life to reduce your impact on the planet, so here are a few ideas to get you started!
Take stock of your shopping and see where the most of your single use plastic is coming from, and which of those you can realistically change. You don't need to throw out every bit of plastic in your house and start from scratch, but slowly make small swaps you can stick to. Remember, we need everyone to do there bit imperfectly! I found the easiest swaps to start with were my cleaning products and toiletries. There are now so many amazing refill services, which not only saves the packaging, looks great in your kitchen and bathroom, but also saves the energy of transporting large amounts of water unnecessarily. There are lots of quality swaps out there, which are not only better for your health, but better for the planet.
Choose to reuse - if you haven't already, ditch the throw away bags, water bottles and coffee cups. Get in to the habit or carrying reusable bags, bottles and cups. If I forget my shopping bags I look for cardboard boxes in the store that I can use to carry my shopping!
Pick it up! - It isn't somebody else's problem, it is all of our problem. If you do see litter while you are out, put it in the bin. Join in beach or river cleans in your area, or support organisations that are actively pulling plastic!
There are so many things you can do, but I hope these ideas inspire you to make a start on your journey against plastic! And don't forget to spread the word!
I plan to develop this collection coming in to the next year to include more artivism pieces and possibly events. Watch this space!