Watching Angela Sun’s award winning documentary (available on Netflix) about the crisis of ocean plastic was sobering, to say the least. She travelled to the remote Midway Atoll where tens of thousands of pieces of plastic wash up at the Atoll every year. This is in addition to the massive piles of debris that have collected just below the surface, trapping animals and destroying coral in shallow sections. Birds and marine animals are ingesting large and small plastics (micro particles), destroying entire colonies of wildlife. One particular statistic that resonated with me: Every molecule of plastic ever created still exists somewhere.
Even more sobering was arriving at our beach holiday this morning to discover plastic of all kinds littering the beach. Playa del Carmen, on the other side of the world from the Midway Atoll, is located in the Caribbean ocean and looks like this:
Up close though, the beach is littered with bits of plastic trash. Lots of tiny pieces of plastic were sprinkled along the shore, blending in with the shells and coral. Some trash, like plastic cups and straws from the party the previous night, was easier to clean up than the tiny tic-tac sized bits. Other plastic that had washed ashore was so old, that marine creatures had attached themselves to the trash. The little hands that helped me during our beach clean up couldn’t understand why these little creatures chose this plastic as their home. I had no explanation. I mean I could understand the logistics of plastics ending up in our oceans but I couldn’t in good conscience, explain why this was happening.
Rather than spiral into depression on our first day of holiday, we set to cleaning up our beach and vowing to say no to all unnecessary plastic in our lives. Because what we throw away, doesn’t ever go away.