Jo Phillips || Zero Waste Sooke
A study published this year estimates 8.8 million tons of plastic are added to the oceans each year.
Researchers found an average of 2,080 pieces of microplastic (the size of a coffee ground) per cubic metre for Vancouver Island waters.
Most of this plastic debris originates on land. It is blown by the wind off garbage trucks, blue boxes, from dumps or from road sides and carried by waterways to the ocean.
Plastic does not decompose. It ends up in five major ocean gyres. These are large (the northern Pacific gyre, for instance, is estimated to be seven to nine million square miles) masses of mostly plastic garbage that swirl around just beneath the surface of the ocean.
Larger pieces of plastic have been found entangling many species of marine life and when the plastic does break down, it forms microplastic pieces which absorb toxic chemicals and are then ingested by turtles, seabirds, marine mammals, fish and, ultimately, people who eat fish.
One way we can greatly lessen the amount of plastic that is being dumped onto the land and water is to avoid single use plastic such as plastic water bottles and plastic bags (including “biodegradable” plastic bags which don’t biodegrade effectively and often end up succumbing to the same fate as all other plastic bags).
On Saturday (July 25) Zero Waste Sooke will present a workshop at the Sooke Country Market on making your own reusable produce and bulk bin bags. “Upcycled” sheer curtains, a pattern and an instruction sheet will be provided and there will be a demo of how to sew them up on the spot during Country Market hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reusable produce/bulk bin bags are easy to make, can be kept in your canvas shopping bags and make great gift bags.
Jo Phillips is publicity chairperson for Zero Waste Sooke.