From waste accumulating on beaches to alarming messages from scientists about the state of our oceans, it becomes complicated to ignore the severity of ocean pollution, even for the most skeptical! Without becoming a committed and militant environmentalist, simply changing a few habits in your daily life helps reduce plastic waste in the water more than you think. Here are some simple gestures and good habits to adopt.
1/ Use a flask
Plastic bottles are present in very (very) large quantities in our oceans, they are ingested by marine mammals or accumulate in nature and on our beaches, and then take between 100 and 1000 years to degrade. Not only drinking from these plastic bottles can be harmful to our health but it is also hard to buy, store, and throw away, yet it is so easy to not use! The solution is simple, use a water flask! There is a wide choice, stainless steel not harmful to your health and very resistant, you can take it everywhere with you and reuse it endlessly. I personally stopped using plastic bottles almost 2 years ago for a flask and I can't do without them anymore, it's so much more practical and economical, and also much prettier!
2/ Refuse disposable utensils such as straws, cutlery, cups and plastic bags
Some countries, such as France, has made a big step forward in this regard by banning the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in crates and fruit and vegetable bags since January 2017, but there are still a large number of restaurants, snacks, and shops that distribute plastic objects, such as straws, plastic utensils, boxes, and cups. But by simply getting into the habit of refusing straws and bags or boxes when you buy food, as well as plastic utensils, easily replaceable by metal utensils that you slip into your bag or by one of these small kits of foldable travel utensils, you considerably reduce your plastic consumption. It may seem negligible like that, but over a year it represents a large amount of plastic per person and many of these objects are found in the stomachs of fish and on beaches. Drinking your drink without a straw, not wrapping your sandwich or thinking about putting a fork in your bag for lunch is a small gesture that counts a lot, think about it!
3/ Choose hygiene products without plastic microbeads
Many of our daily hygiene products such as toothpaste, exfoliating creams, shower gels, etc. contain plastic microbeads that give an abrasive and scrubbing side to the product. Only these microplastics are too fine to be treated or filtered by purification stations and end up in the ocean. Microplastics are less visible in water and sand than large plastics but they represent 90% of the volume of plastic in the oceans! However, there is currently no rule prohibiting the use of microbeads in cosmetics, so it is up to us consumers to make the right choice by turning to products without microplastics or based on exfoliants of natural origin such as peel or crushed fruit stones.
4/ Do not throw cigarette butts anywhere
A single cigarette butt pollutes about 500 liters of water, and when we see the number of cigarette butts littering our sidewalks there is enough to be afraid! Butt bumpers are beginning to appear on some beaches to raise awareness of the problem, and some beachside shops are distributing small beach ashtrays for free, but these initiatives are still too rare. Seeing a cigarette butt floating next to you in the water, or finding one stuck between two toes after a session is really not great! So for our smoking friends, put your cigarette butt in your pocket or in a garbage can, not on the sidewalk, in the sand or through the car window. And for those who do not smoke but who have friends who smoke a little carelessly, this is the opportunity to offer some pocket ashtrays, by gently getting the message across;)
5/ Pick up garbage on the beach
It seems obvious but so many people still leave their garbage in the wild after a picnic! Yet most beaches are now equipped with garbage cans, and even if this is not the case or if they overflow it is not an excuse, if your picnic may have gotten into your bag on arrival, the packaging can also hold on until you get home or you can put them in the garbage. Many organizations set up garbage collection, it helps to clean beaches and educate passers-by, but it is not necessary to wait for this kind of event to get you there, whether you live on the coast or simply on vacation, picking up some garbage each time you pass by the beach is a small simple gesture, which costs nothing, and you will be surprised to see that sometimes it is enough to show the example to see other people do the same. Every gesture counts, we can never say it enough!
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