Last month, we came together to celebrate World Oceans Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of our oceans and the incredible marine life they sustain. It was a moment to reflect on the critical role our oceans play in keeping our planet thriving. And now, as we dive into the month of July, it's time to turn our attention to another crucial issue: plastic pollution—this Plastic Free July.
Marine conservation gets less than 1% of all charitable funding and is the least funded of all SDGs. We're all about saving rainforests, but the ocean absorbs almost double the amount of carbon! Rainforests do their part, sequestering around 1.3 billion metric tons of carbon annually. The ocean absorbs around 2.5 billion metric tons of carbon per year.
That's 25% of all CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. The ocean is a crucial carbon sink, my friends!
The Ocean Economy
The ocean isn't just crucial for the environment; it’s a big deal economically, too. The ocean economy contributes a mind-blowing £1.2 trillion annually to the global GDP. It supports industries like tourism, fisheries, and transportation. Think about the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities that rely on fishing.
The Disturbing Truth
But that's not all, folks. Companies are also contributing to the problem. Last month, Surfers Against Sewage made headlines for protesting water companies dumping sewage into the sea. South West Water was served a record £2.1 million fine for polluting waterways. One time, they even pumped raw sewage into the sea for over 35 hours! A sample from a nearby beach showed E. coli levels 2,000 times higher than the poor rating. Ew!
The Plastic Problem
Every year, a jaw-dropping 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean. It's not only harming marine animals but humans too. Microplastics are everywhere, even in unborn babies. Studies have shown that marine species like fish, turtles, and seabirds are ingesting these microplastics, mistaking them for food. This can lead to internal injuries, blockages, and even death. It's heartbreaking to think that our menstrual waste is harming innocent creatures in the ocean.
Do Menstruation Products Pollute Our Oceans?
Approximately 100 billion menstrual products are used worldwide each year, and the majority of these products contain plastic and end up in landfills or oceans. According to research, a single sanitary pad can decompose for up to 500 years, and a tampon applicator can linger around for over 25 years. That means many of these products that have ever been used are still out there, causing harm to marine life and ecosystems.
Traditional Menstrual Products Generate an Astonishing Amount of Plastic Waste
⛔ Most single-use menstrual pads are made from 90% plastic
⛔ 1 pack of menstrual pads is the equivalent of 5 plastic carrier bags per pack
⛔ There are 4.8 bits of plastic menstrual waste per 100m of beach in the UK
⛔ 20% of people in the EU using a menstrual cup would prevent 100 tonnes of waste
It's time to make a change.
We need to ditch disposable products and opt for sustainable alternatives like Ruby Cup! Menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads, and period underwear are fantastic options that can drastically reduce our impact on the environment. By making this switch, we can help prevent thousands of tons of plastic waste from entering our oceans every year.
How to Menstruate Plastic-Free:
- Opt for reusable menstrual products like menstrual cups, cloth pads, or period underwear.
- Say goodbye to single-use plastic tampon applicators and switch to applicator-free tampons.
- Consider trying out menstrual underwear with absorbent layers instead of traditional pads or tampons.
By using plastic-free menstrual products, you reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. Choosing reusable options means fewer products are being manufactured, resulting in less plastic pollution during production. Reusable menstrual products can also significantly reduce your personal carbon footprint, as they can last for years with proper care.
Embracing plastic-free periods helps raise awareness about the environmental impact of menstrual waste and encourages others to make sustainable choices. Let's spread the word, demand better options from companies, and support initiatives that promote eco-friendly menstruation. We can tackle this issue and ensure a cleaner, safer ocean for all.