Six million tons of garbage sent to sea every year
Infographic from Project AWARE
September is “Debris Month of Action” and thousands of scuba divers around the world are collecting data and sending it to Project AWARE in order to help scientists understand how much trash there is in the oceans and what we can do about it.
Best estimates are that we’re dumping more than six million tons of trash into the ocean worldwide each year.
This garbage travels over land from homes, businesses, factories, parks etc., down creeks, rivers and drains, and out to the ocean, where it can drift for thousands of miles, killing thousands of marine animals who mistake it for food or get caught up in it. It chokes coral reefs, contaminates beaches, and changes the whole balance of nature.
Ninety percent of floating garbage is plastic, which can take centuries to break down. Ninety-five percent of birds found dead on beaches have plastic in their stomachs. And up to 90,000 northern fur seals die each year from being entangled in plastic garbage.
What you can do: Project AWARE has updates and how-to-help on its website.
One thing we can all do is cut up the plastic ties that hold six-packs of soft drink cans together. Cut them (not just the big circles, but the small ones, too, up so that birds, turtles and other seagoing animals can’t get their heads stuck in them.
And here’s a video from Project AWARE showing how you can help: