Plastic and its impact on wildlife is rarely far from our minds these days, with new research highlighting how devastating it can be on a near daily basis.
TV programmes have played a huge role in catapulting this issue into public consciousness – and BBC’s new Blue Planet Live series with Chris Packham, Liz Bonnin and Steve Backshall is no different.
Littering is a problem so broad in scale that it can often feel too large for us to tackle, but there are easy ways to make a difference.
Reduce your reliance on single-use plastics.
Single-use plastics are everywhere – think disposable carrier bags, straws, coffee cups, crisp packets, and the plastic packaging so often found in supermarkets.
Much of the waste on beaches and in the ocean has been littered, so make sure you do your bit to properly dispose of household waste. Not all plastic is recyclable, but cleaning your plastic waste and popping it in your recycling bin is the best chance it gets of being remoulded and given a new life.
Research shows that while many of us are committed recyclers in the kitchen, we’re really lagging behind when it comes to dealing with bathroom waste. Rather than throwing those shampoo and shower gel bottles in the bin, give them a rinse and recycle them, too.
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Take part in a beach clean.
There are a number of organised beach cleans that take place around the UK, so it’s worth checking out if there’s one in your area. The National Trust and Surfers Against Sewage plan events – search by region on their site to see if there’s one near you.
Or, if you’re short of time but still want to help out, you can spend the first two minutes of every beach trip picking up litter. The #2minutebeachclean is an idea generated by Beach Clean Network – a not-for-profit organisation in Cornwall – and is a fast way to make a difference.
Curb your fast fashion obsession.
Cheap fabrics like polyester, nylon, polyamide and acrylic fibres omit tiny pollutants into water systems. Look closely at the clothes in your wardrobe – you’ll be surprised at the outfits you can cobble together without buying more. And if you do have clothes you want to get rid of, donate them to charity or recycle them.
Stop wasting resources.
Greenhouse gas emissions from fuel and agriculture can warm up the atmosphere and raise ocean temperatures. Road vehicles are also a major cause of pollution, so ditching the car for the bus, or – even better – a bike or a journey on foot can help make a difference.
The first Blue Planet Live episode airs on Sunday 24 March at 8pm on BBC One.
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