Plastic Free July is an initiative started in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation and has since become a global movement. The foundation is driven by the sole goal of eradicating the world from plastic. Global plastics production was estimated at 390.7 million metric tons in 2021, an annual increase of four per cent. Plastic production has soared since the 1950s.
Why are plastics so harmful?
Plastic is found in many things we use, e.g. in clothing, bottles and buckets. The problem with plastic is that most of it isn't biodegradable, which means it doesn't rot like paper or food, so instead, it can hang around in the environment for hundreds of years. What aggravates the situation with plastics is that most of it is single-use plastics which means they can only be used once before they are discarded. Examples of single-use plastics include: drinking bottles and carrier bags.
The grim reality of plastics in the environment is being felt, and as experts warn: we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Almost everyone on the planet has used plastic at least once. What makes plastics so dangerous?
Effects of plastics on the environment:
Effects of plastics on marine wildlife:
- Marine wildlife such as seabirds, whales, fish and turtles mistake plastic waste for prey; most then die of starvation as their stomachs become filled with plastic. They also suffer from lacerations, infections, reduced ability to swim, and internal injuries.
This plastic-free July, we’re being called to help spread awareness about the plastic pollution crisis and its devastating consequences on our planet. At Ocean Sole, we help support this cause by:
- Organising and carrying out weekly beach cleans up at the coast of Kenya to remove plastic debris on the beaches that would otherwise be carried back into the ocean with waves
- Upcycling flip flops that would otherwise cause serious damage if left in the environment, by carving our sculptures using flip flops instead of wood, we’re discouraging deforestation.
- Committing to SDG Goal14, which aims to manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution sustainably.
- We organise and clean up the environments around us where we pick plastics and other items that litter the environment. We give the plastics we collect to recycling companies.
- Educating our visitors and followers on our social media platforms about the importance of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling
Our coastal team and volunteers during a beach clean up
Individually or as a group, you can make an impact this plastic-free July. Here are a few ways you can contribute to making the world a better place by getting rid of plastics!:
- Stop using plastic shopping bags- Make it a Plastic-Free July by remembering to take your reusable shopping bag the next time you go shopping.
- Ditch the straw- We get it; we like using straws when we take our favourite beverages; this month, simply don’t take the straw when offered to you at the counter. If you absolutely have to use a straw, many eco-friendly straw options exist. There are even convenient foldable straws that fit in your bag or purse.
- Reusable bottles and mugs- Switch to using reusable bottles and mugs . Bring a couple when you’re out, so you don’t have to take a disposable coffee cup or buy bottled water.
- While shopping. Take advantage of the bulk food sections at the grocery store. Bring your reusable container or produce bag to stock up. Some stores will even allow you to bring your containers from home to fill prepared foods.
- Make your on-the-go meal, and package it in reusable containers. Enjoy using reusable utensils.
Plastic Free July is a great time to think beyond your personal lifestyle habits and help inspire others to make a change with you. Consider starting a campaign to reduce single-use plastic in your neighbourhood or town. You don’t have to go far to make a positive impact. Also, consider joining an environmental organisation and help them take action in raising awareness. Giving a few hours of your time can make a world of difference!
Remember to share this information with your family and friends and also on your social media platforms. Information is power!
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