When itsy bitsy is not cute

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Microplastics at Linda Mar State Beach, Pacifica – a surfing hot spot. Photo taken February 1, 2016.

We have an elephant in the room and something drastic needs to be done, but unfortunately the drastic that needs to happen, I do not think will unfortunately.

Our lives have gone so plastic, that now it is common to visit the beach and see grain – to pebble-sized plastics littering our beaches. It is impossible to clean up. And for me – a beach cleaner-upper, it is a really depressing sight to see on a regular basis!

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Click image to watch short video on Instagram.

If you visited a beach lately and did not notice the microplastic problem, chances are the tide washed it out. Visit the beach again, and it will most assuredly be there. I have watched this happen time and time again. I’d visit a beach and find and pick up all the chunky debris and the next visit, there’d be very little chunky debris but yet millions of tiny plastics dotting the waterline on the beach. This change in debris size has a lot to do with currents, tides and storms. I am pretty sure the microplastic issue is happening to some degree all over the world.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.30.31 PMThe problem
Plastics do not biodegrade – they photo-degrade, taking hundreds of years to break down into microscopic-sized particles. They never really go away! And then what? The tiny microplastics get digested by fish and animals. The plastics enters the food chain. And then who eats the fish and animals? We do! It is just bad news all-around. It is systemic to such a degree that it makes one want to become vegan. To add insult to injury, plastics leech harmful chemicals such as BPA.

Who is responsible?
What needs to happen (drastically), is single-use plastics need to be banned such as water bottles, cutlery, straws, dental flossers, tampon applicators, q-tips, stir sticks, cheese spreaders and bags etc. If it is used once and then sent to landfill, this is a sad shame! Honestly, the irresponsibility and unconsciousness of corporations, infuriate me. And humanities insatiable eagerness to consume these products, makes it so that they will not go away. As long as corporations put single-use plastics on the market, people will buy them… supply and demand. So, the onus is on the corporations to stop producing them. But will they? Most likely not until the problem is much too late.

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Microplastics at Pillar Point Beach, Half Moon Bay, January 5, 2016.

What can we do?
The answer is simple… boycott single-use plastics. Please stop buying them. Reduce using plastics, reuse the plastics you already purchased, and if you throw plastics out, at least recycle them. Plastics that are recycled are used to create new plastic products but are used for lesser quality products. Recycled plastics ultimately end up in landfill at some point in their lifespan.

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Microplastics at Ocean Beach at Sloat, January 17, 2016.

Cleanups have changed me
Wow, I had know idea until I got up close and personal. Since I have started beach cleanups, it has completely changed my lifestyle. Purchasing single-use plastics are out of the question of course. I’ve picked up and disinfected so much single-use cutlery, I’ll never need to buy it!

Let me know your thoughts on this… will you change your habits because of this, or have you already?

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