Day 52 – Today is World Whale Day! I have loved whales since I was kid. I wanted to be a marine biologist and study whales and dolphins. I even went out to San Diego for college to follow my dream. I soon realized that this non-swimming, midwesterner was not cut out for a life at sea. However, I never stopped loving those ocean mammals and all their wondrous splendor.
So, on this World Whale Day, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the need to reduce and ideally stop the use of single use plastics. I have spoken in previous posts about the dangers that plastic pose to our ocean and waterways. We have all seen the pictures of deceased animals with an alarming amount of plastic in their stomachs. If you haven’t seen these pictures, than you are ignoring a serious problem.
In a National Geographic article published back in March of 2019, the death of a young whale with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach was shared.
“The curvier beaked whale, a young male about 15 feet long and weighing 1,100 pounds, likely died of starvation and dehydration brought on by the plastic stuffing its belly. Whales absorb water from the food they eat, and there was no sign that any food had made it into its intestines for many days. Its body was destroying itself from the inside: Its stomach acid, unable to break down the plastic waste, had worn holes through its stomach lining instead.”
“As the plastic pollution crisis grows, more and more dolphins, whales, birds, and fish are found dead with their stomachs full of plastic. In 2015, scientists estimated that around 90 percent of all seabirds have ingested some amount of plastic; UNESCO estimates that 100,000 marine mammals die because of plastic pollution each year.“
So, what can we do?
Thankfully, there are organizations that are trying to educate the public about single use plastics and the need to eliminate them from our everyday life. OPA (Organizing for Plastics Alternatives) is one of those organizations. They are a Chicago-based activist group that is concerned with the ever-growing reliance on single-use plastics. OPA members are working to change attitudes, business practices, and public policies. Their shared vision is to live in a world with less plastic. They are a great resource for those wanting to live a life without plastic.
There is nothing easy about eliminating plastic from our everyday life. It is everywhere! However, it is reassuring to know that there are people out there that want to help us on our journey and provides important information to guide us.
So, let’s try to find alternatives to our single use plastics. The whales will thank us!
Tomorrow, my 1% for the Planet contributions.