We have all seen the horrifying images. Seagulls and penguins choking with plastic around their necks, sick seals and turtles who ate some foreign waste, dissected sharks or fish who died from ingesting plastic…

These images should be enough to shake us awake and make us look at the way we discard plastic waste. It’s not. When walking along the beachfront, piers and harbours you still see so much plastic pollution. Not only does this make these spaces look dirty, they pose a real threat to the wildlife of the area.

seal

Two Oceans Aquarium have been preaching about the dangers of plastic for years, and have been doing everything they can to help the marine life who are affected by it. This month they are taking it a step further. Four employees have accepted the Plastic-Free July Challenge in attempt to raise awareness of poor plastic disposal and encourage people to change their plastic practices. They have decided to take up the challenge as they have seen the damage it causes first hand. Just look at all the plastic they found in Bob the Turtle! He is still undergoing rehabilitation.

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Plastic-Free July is an international campaign that challenges everyone to stop using single-use plastic. This includes shopping bags, straws, take away coffee lids and plastic packaging.  When you think about it, we have become so dependent on single-use plastic. It’s everywhere. Once we are done using it, we don’t really care what happens to it, and the environment pays the consequences.

To put things into perspective here are some facts the Two Oceans Aquarium and Plastic Free July shared:

    • Besides a small amount that has been incinerated, every piece of plastic that has been produced exists somewhere on the earth.
    • Around 1 million plastic bags are used around the world every minute, and are only used for an average of 25 minutes.
    • A whopping 80% of marine litter is plastic. It estimated that 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean per year.

bob

If you want to join Two Oceans Aquarium in this nobel challenge you can register at Plastic Free July here. You can get your company, university or school involved. You can choose how long you want to do the challenge for and can commit to avoiding all single-use plastic, or the top four (straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags and coffee cup lids). The site will send you tips and trick to help you through the challenge. If it end up saving just one life, you have already made a difference.

We at Cape Town Etc have decided to join the challenge, to support the Two Oceans Aquarium and to protect our precious marine life. We hope you join us!

Photography courtesy Two Oceans Aquarium 

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