The importance of changing habits to avoid marine pollution
It’s scientifically proven that we can change our consumption habits by putting them into practice for 21 days in a row. For some, it may be a difficult test to sustain, but if we start to think that we come from a throw-away culture and that this action generates an unthinkable amount of waste that pollutes the oceans and causes marine species to disappear, surely we would be more aware and we would at least try.
By: Patricia Lafrati - Journalist specialised in sustainability
Every year, 14 million tons of plastic end up in the sea and constitute 80% of marine litter. Consulted on this subject, Mauricio Saldívar, a specialist in climate change, urban resilience and sustainable development, tells us that this information should be available to the entire population, at least to call for reflection on the consequences generated by our garbage. "There is no surface or depth in the seas of our planet that is free of contaminants, but the highest concentration of plastic waste occurs in tourist and densely populated areas." Pollution grows over the years, and puts the health of oceans and marine species at risk.
There are different factors such as wind, sea currents and the action of UV solar radiation, with which plastics break down and transform into small particles until they reach such a small size that they are accidentally ingested by marine species, causing injuries that can reduce their ability to move, or death by starvation, since they have a full stomach, but of plastic. If the current trend of marine plastic waste pollution continues, by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish.
When garbage reaches the seas, it not only affects marine life but also mankind. "Marine pollution threatens the safety and quality of food from that origin, coastal tourism, in addition to putting at risk the social protection of people who make a living from these activities," says Saldívar.
Did you know that Argentina is among the 30 countries that throw the most waste into the sea? According to the latest Marine Coastal Garbage Census 2021 carried out by the Vida Silvestre Argentina Foundation and other coastal NGOs, the types of contaminants most commonly found on the beaches were cigarette butts (19.6%), plastic fragments (18.7%), plastic wrappers (13.2%), plastic bags (10%) and nylon waste (8.1%). The amount of garbage thrown into the sea is worrying and, in the summer, as the number of tourists increases, so does the amount of waste.