Plastik – die Bedrohung der Meere - NIKIN EU

Plastic – the threat to the seas

The amount of plastic waste in the world's oceans is extreme and should cause us great concern. Careless disposal leads to fatal environmental damage, the consequences of which are ultimately passed on to us through the suffering sea creatures. It's high time to take action!

The oceans of our planet take up most of its surface - and are of great importance. They provide habitats for countless animals and plants and are also a source of food and relaxation for us humans, who are practically only “guests” on the seas. But not only that, the world's oceans are an essential climate subsystem of the planet, which is in constant balance with the atmosphere and plays a significant role in temperature compensation.

So many good reasons to value and protect the oceans. But instead they are littered. Unfortunately, this is not primarily due to sewage or toxic waste - although these are also serious factors - but rather due to plastic. Plastic, plastic, endlessly, in the truest sense of the word. Because the material from which our everyday dreams are made is practically indestructible.

Every minute a garbage truck lands plastic in the sea!

It seems hard to imagine, but it's true - every minute the contents of a garbage truck go somewhere into the sea. There are now 86 million tons of plastic floating in the oceans. “Plastic islands” have already emerged in the Pacific, the largest of which exceeds Europe in area! These include larger pieces that sink to the seabed, but also floating pieces of plastic in which marine life becomes entangled and dies in agony, or possibly eats them and also dies. Microplastics are no less dangerous. Tiny particles that arise from the decomposition of plastic waste, but which are also deliberately added to other substances - we find microplastics in detergents, skin creams, peelings, shower gels and shampoos, so that they initially end up in wastewater and eventually into groundwater, rivers and oceans reach. And from there they enter the food chain – i.e. onto our plates.

Where does the garbage come from?

Most of the waste in the world's oceans is not dumped overboard somewhere. It is not that easy. Instead, plastic products that are carted to a landfill eventually end up in the ocean. Blown by the wind.Because plastic can break down into small pieces, but it is virtually indestructible. Other plastic particles are created by our consumption habits. The popular cuddly fleece clothing, for example, creates hundreds of plastic fibers every time it is washed, which ends up in the wastewater and then eventually into rivers and seas. The bottom line is that anyone who uses plastic is contributing to ocean pollution.

The consequences of pollution

The microplastic particles in the oceans have long been ingested with food by all living things. And that's how they end up on our plates at some point. Microplastics have not only been detected in numerous marine creatures, but also recently in human stool samples. So the problem that starts in our households returns to us.

Although the plasticizers that were considered toxic and were once so often used in plastic production are now banned within the EU, they are still in circulation through imports from third countries, remain in use - and end up in the sea . The long-term consequences cannot yet be foreseen.

What can be done – what is being done?

The plastic waste already floating in the oceans is unfortunately in international waters. No country feels compelled to take action here, even though there are strategies around the world to at least monitor coastal waters and their use.

Projects like the technology of Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, who is committed to cleaning the oceans, provide hope. “The Ocean Cleanup Project” aims to collect plastic waste and recycle it. Integration into the filter systems of ships is already being considered.

But the main source of plastic waste is every single consumer. And you can really do a lot here. Most of the plastic products in our everyday lives are neither essential nor pretty and can be replaced with sensible alternatives.

Tips for everyday life without plastic

  • Shopping with a net or a cloth bag
  • Use containers made of tin, glass and ceramic instead of plastic film
  • Buy fresh products at the market instead of packaged industrial food
  • Do not use disposable products such as plastic plates or spoons
  • Avoid plastic toys for children
  • Drinks are best from glass bottles
  • Drink tap water instead of water from plastic bottles - it is often of better quality anyway

Support meaningful initiatives!

If you live near a coast, you can spend time helping with a beach cleanup. Since we don't all live within sight of the oceans, there is also the opportunity to support projects like “Seas without Plastic” through donations. The Take3 initiative is just as effective - it involves taking three pieces of waste with you every time you visit the beach. If everyone does it, it has an enormous reach!

The best thing is and remains – avoid plastic. Anyone who thinks about their everyday consumption not only helps keep our blue planet clean, but also gives themselves a better quality of life!

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