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Plastic Pollution and How To Help

Plastic pollution has been gaining a lot of attention recently and we thought we’d take a quick look at the problem and share some tips on how you can help.

This article is also available in Welsh. I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg  – clicia yma

So what’s the problem with plastic?

Plastic in the ocean Plastic Pollution article

Due to the growing population of the world, easy, disposable plastics have become a way of life. But how does this on-the-go lifestyle effect the environment around us? Our dependency on these one-time-use bottles and containers is causing problems for wildlife, plants and humans too.

The sea is one of the places most effected. Millions of fish are dying everyday. They predict that the weight of the plastic in the sea will be more than the weight of all the fish by 2050. This is why people are really worried and encouraging people to help make a difference.

What can I do?

Here are 5 things we can all do to help with the plastic problem.

1. Shop friendly

Be prepared and always take your own reusable bags when shopping, and avoid the 5p (or 10p in some places) bag charge as well. Another great idea is to check whether the packaging of the products you are buying is recyclable and if not see if there is an alternative.

2. Reusable water bottles

Invest in a reusable water bottle or cup instead of the throw away plastic kind that they sell drinks in. You’ll save money by taking your own tap water, or some places offer a 10% discount on drinks if you bring your own container. Although it’s cool to get your name on your frappe, it’s a lot cooler trying to save the environment.

3. Avoid pointless plastics

There’s been a big drive to ditch the straws recently and they are not easily available in bars and restaurants anymore, you have to specifically ask for them. Most of us don’t really need straws to drink, we can do without them, and cutting them out could help save lots of animals or plants. And if you really need to use straws, switch to paper ones.

Try buying loose fruit and veg and not the ones already packaged in plastic. You don’t have to use the clear plastic bags they provide in shops either. Place them loose in your bag or bring your own container from home.

4. Recycle everything

Don’t add to the problem by choosing not to recycle things that can be recycled, stop putting them in the general waste. That’s more things going to landfill and having an effect on plants and animals. If you burn plastic this can cause air pollution as they release toxic chemicals. More and more items are becoming recyclable so always check the label.

5. Pick up three

There are lots of organisations and charities that encourage people to pick up and take away three pieces of plastic every time they visit the beach. You can pick up more than this of course, look out for a beach clean near you, or arrange your own. If everyone who visited the beach took away a bit of rubbish every time then it would make a huge difference to ridding our beaches of plastic.

There’s a new exercise craze out there too – plogging. It originated in Sweden and involves jogging and picking up rubbish at the same time. A great workout for your legs and core as you run and squat. Keep yourself and the planet fit – bonus!

Share and learn more

Make sure that you spread the message to those that might not be aware of the effect that plastic has on everyday life. Help the world by sharing this article and spreading the word about plastic pollution.

If you want further information there are some great resources on LiveKindly and Say No To Plastics that can help you become a plastic pollution warrior.

Talk to Meic

Meic is the information, advice and advocacy helpline for children and young people across Wales. Contact Meic if you need to talk to someone about anything that’s worrying or upsetting you. It’s free, confidential and anonymous. The service is open from 8am-midnight every day, and you can contact them by phone, text, or online chat.