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Happy World Environment Day!

This week we are celebrating World Environment Day (today!) AND World Oceans Day (June 8).

The theme for both in 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it!

At Bonorong, we see firsthand how plastic causes injury and illness in our wildlife. The global numbers speak for themselves:

  • Up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used each year
  • 13 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year (around a truckload every minute)
  • 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute
  • 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed by plastics each year
  • 90% of bottled water and 83% of tap water has been found to contain plastic particles
  • 50% of consumer plastics are designed to be single-use
  • In the next 10-15 years global plastic production is projected to nearly double
  • By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish
 Purple hermit crab using a bottle top for a shell. Photo: Jenn Lavers. 

Purple hermit crab using a bottle top for a shell. Photo: Jenn Lavers. 

So, what can you do about it?

  • Reduce single-use plastics. They’re everywhere… Bottled water and soft drinks! Plastic bags! Straws and cutlery! Balloons! Many of these can substituted for a multi-use option or avoided altogether. If this happens enough, retailers will get the message and find alternatives.
  • Avoid products that contain microplastics, such as many cosmetic products.
  • Pick up rubbish from the beach when you visit and save it being washed back out by the tide.
  • Join the global #BeatPlasticPollution game of tag. Invite friends and colleagues to take a selfie with their canvas shopping bag, metal straw or any other reusable product and tag five friends, telling them to do the same. The person tagged should post a photo with their reusable item within 24 hours.
  • Carry out a plastic audit of your home or business to see where you can reduce your plastic usage. Set targets and make a plan to achieve them.
  • If you’re a teacher, lessons plans can be found on the World Environment Day website to teach your students about the issue.

Today, millions of people in over 100 countries will be celebrating the natural environment and taking action to reduce their impact on the planet we all call home. What will you do?

 Flatback turtle caught in a ghost net in the Northern Territory. Photo: Jane Dermer, GhostNets Australia. 

Flatback turtle caught in a ghost net in the Northern Territory. Photo: Jane Dermer, GhostNets Australia. 

 Plastics ingested by short-tailed shearwaters, Australia's most abundant seabird. Each number on the grid represents an individual bird. Most of the short-tailed shearwater population carries these small plastic loads in their gizzard. Photo: Lauren Roman. 

Plastics ingested by short-tailed shearwaters, Australia's most abundant seabird. Each number on the grid represents an individual bird. Most of the short-tailed shearwater population carries these small plastic loads in their gizzard. Photo: Lauren Roman.