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Reimagining Oceans And The Great Plastic Pollution Problem

castaway oceans plastic free header

This post is in collaboration with Ocean Plastics Free. 

It’s thought that just 5% of the world’s oceans have been explored and mapped using sonar technology. 

It’s one thing seeing the surface and mapping the bottom, but there’s a whole lot of 3D space in between. Oceans can drop down to depths of 7 miles (over 11,000 metres)! 

Between depths of 200-1000m, light levels are minimal. After you get 1km, there’s no light at all. 

The result of all this water and no light is that 95% of oceans are completely unexplored. This makes oceans very mysterious places indeed – something that’s been utilised by filmmakers across the world. 

One thing that isn’t a mystery is the amount of plastic being dumped into oceans.

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Jaws reimagined. Source: Oceans Plastic Free

How much plastic pollution is in the ocean? 

Oceans are not quite the pristine, natural environments that are often portrayed. 

Every year, around 12 million tonnes of plastic gets dumped into our oceans. This equates to millions and millions of individual plastic pieces and microplastics being deposited directed and flowing down waterways into the open sea. 

Thanks to strong circulating currents, plastic gets transported to every corner and crevice of our sea environments. 

From the deepest point of our oceans (Mariana Trench) to some of the remotest (Antarctica, deep Arctic ice and uninhabited South Pacific islands), microplastics have been found everywhere. Everywhere.

The plastic isn’t just swilling around harmlessly either. It’s causing major problems for wildlife, our all important biodiversity and ecosystems.

It’s thought millions upon millions of animals including sea birds, sea mammals and fish are killed as a result of plastic pollution each year. This is mainly through entanglement and starvation, as well as inhalation. 

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Finding Nemo reimagined. Source: Oceans Plastic Free

Reimagining oceans from the films

In a clever campaign, Oceans Plastic Free, who make plastic free toilet paper and kitchen roll, have reimagined some classic ocean movie scenes. 

The likes of Jaws, Castaway, Little Mermaid, Aquaman and Finding Nemo have all been updated with a number of plastic additions. Not quite like it was in the movies then!

Finding Nemo was one of my favourite films as a child. An underwater world of colourful fish set in the Great Barrier Reef felt exotic and alluring to me. 

As an adult I got to visit the Great Barrier Reef in 2014. I got to see clown fish, sharks, rays, dolphins and turtles in their natural environment. It was utterly amazing.

But it wasn’t all perfect. I saw plenty of plastic and coral bleaching over large scales.

Clearly, all unsustainable human-related activity has a breaking point after which we start to see the negative impacts on the natural world.

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Castaway reimagined. Source: Oceans Plastic Free

On a positive note, there are glimmers of improvement. In a survey of 563 coastal areas, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation conclude that plastic litter has decreased along the Australian coastline by up to 29% compared to 2013 levels. 

Economic-based waste management actions have had the biggest impact on reducing coastal litter. These include actions such as waste collections, curbside recycling collection and shopping bag bans. You can read a little more on plastic recycling codes here to make sure you’re recycling plastic correctly.

It will also help with consumer opting for more ethical plastic-free shops, including Oceans Plastic Free.

Here’s to reducing and eventually eliminating ocean plastic pollution for good!

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Ben & Murphy Peaks Mam Tor

I’m the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home. Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.