Monday, 23 March 2015

Litter in our Oceans; Blue Temple Earth Hour initiative

Litter is something so regularly discussed on the internet and by us that is hardly seems useful mentioning again. However, the last few weeks have seen a huge effort from the volunteers and team to get as much litter and trash cleaned up as we can.

Litter comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. Perhaps the most damaging and long-lasting type is plastic. Plastic is a (mostly) synthetic product, often derived from petrochemical processes and materials, resulting in a light, cheap and easy to produce material which has become one of the most commonly used materials for packaging.

An interesting fact often said about plastic is the length of time it takes to break down. Except of potentially organic plastics, any plastic made from synthetic materials will never biodegrade, they simple get weaker and break into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming so small they can appear as grains of sand or float unseen in our waters, filling the bellies of marine and freshwater species, resulting in illness and death.

It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic reach our oceans annually, that is almost 23 tonnes of plastic EVERY DAY entering our planets life source. People could be forgiven in thinking our oceans are a large space ideal for trash disposal due to their size and our relative lack of knowledge of the deep. But no one can begin to argue that 23 tonnes of plastic every day is a long term sustainable scenario.

People state plastic is difficult to recycle due to the huge variety in types of plastic, and they’d be right. The answer isn’t necessarily recycling, it is instead reducing the amount we use. Instead of using plastic bags when you go shopping, take a back-pack or your own ‘bag for life’, they are cheap and long lasting. Thankfully, some states in the USA are taking positive action against the plastic world we are living, New York have bannedpolystyrene containers whilst California are trying to ban plastic bags. These are steps we all need to take if we are to make a difference.

The team after a long clean up at Long Beach - 10 full bin bags collected

For our part, we recently conducted an underwater clean up with Universal Diver, Pulau Perhentian, where, over two dives, we collected up to 500kg of plaster board.

Universal Diver and Blue Temple unite to clean up the ocean

We have also conducted numerous beach and village clean ups, collecting close to 300kg in plastic, fishing and glass trash. We have not even scratched the surface of the litter problem.

Our only answer is to cut it out of our lives, think before we buy and try to buy fresh with paper of tote bags. You can be the difference. Get involved in our Earth Hour initiative and build something cool out of trash you find on the beach, in the woods, in the street. Our team are creating bracelets out of straws, clocks from old bottle caps, musical instruments and flowers. Join in and post your pictures to our Facebook page.