Promoting sustainable oceans, rivers, fishing and fish farming practices is a priority for us Millennials. An estimated 10 to 12 percent of the global population relies on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihood. Per capita fish consumption has risen from 10 kilogrammes in the 1960s to more than 20 kilogrammes in 2016, meaning that the demand for seafood is increasing even as these resources are more and more threatened. Is the convenience of trash really worth the future of our oceans and marine life? This question made us get out of our comfort zone and go to work.
It is a rainy Morning in Diani as the month of June blesses this destination with showers. The morning chilly rains couldn’t deter us from our objective of winning in this trash must fall initiative. So we gather the necessary, pick our starting point which we chose to be the Nomads restaurant headed to the Baobab Beach resort and Spa.
But hold up, why would we sacrifice our Saturday sleep and go collect trash? I will tell you for free. I pick plastic to start this conversation. Approximately 6,300 million metric tons of plastic waste has been generated since the creation of plastics in the 1950’s. Only 9% of this plastic waste has been recycled, with the remainder incinerated, landfilled or left in the natural environment. Of the roughly 9% that has been recycled, only 10% of that has been recycled more than once; this means that only 1% of all plastic produced has been recycled more than once. This is a massive scourge for our ocean; roughly 150 million metric tons of plastic waste now pollutes our ocean with an additional 8 million metric tons (and growing) spilling into the marine environment from land every year. Crazy!!
Let us cut the story short, this is what you and I should be doing to stop dependence on plastics:
1.Avoid single-use plastics
Ninety percent of the plastic we use in our daily lives is disposable or single-use plastic: grocery bags, plastic wrap, zipper bags, coffee-cup lids. Single-use plastics are particularly damaging considering that a single plastic bag can take 1000 years to degrade. These plastics can also degrade into micro plastics, smaller pieces that are often mistaken as food by mammals, birds or fish. Simply noticing the prevalence of plastic in our lives is the first step to replacing single-use plastics with reusable options: cloth bags, glass storage containers, silverware, and ceramic mugs.
2.Carry a reusable water bottle
Disposable water and soda bottles are some of the biggest culprits of plastic waste. More than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were sold globally in 2016. If placed end to end, they would extend more than halfway to the sun! Drink from reusable bottles instead. In places where the water is safe to drink, you can easily refill your bottle.
3. Say no to plastic cutlery, straws, take out containers
Sometimes we are given plastic without even asking for it. Turn down the offer for a straw. Ask restaurants to pack your food in fewer containers for take-out. Tell them that you don’t need any plastic cutlery, and use your own reusable cutlery instead.
This might seem obvious, but the majority of the plastic we use is not recycled. Where the option exists, ensure that the plastic you do use gets recycled, but remember, it is easier to prevent waste than to manage it.
So whether, you are a street hustler, politician, an executive, artist or even Twitter A B ‘whatever men’ let us all get involved as every waste-item we remove from the environment makes a difference!
Let us all work towards keeping our environment clean and beautiful for us and for generations to come!
Remember you can share your initiative under the hashtag #trashmustfall . It doesn’t have to be a beach clean-up only, as long as you are keeping the environment clean we are safe.
This is my pledge henceforth. TRASH MUST FALL.