Ocean waste – oceans are full of it. Well, not literally “full” of it, but you get what we mean – there’s a lot more waste in the world’s oceans than any of us would prefer. That being said, we’re spectacularly efficient at putting problems “out of mind”, especially if said problems are also “out of sight”. Hence, we sort of forgot ocean waste for a while and it led us to our current predicament in the first place, which brings us back to our original point.
Because some people are trying to raise awareness about these colossal issues, they are sometimes going overboard with it due to the fact that most people ignore them. This allows for the perpetuation of certain myths related to the problem at hand. Don’t get us wrong – Rubbish Please is always behind campaigns, ideas, and crusades against rubbish and waste in all their forms and shapes, but we are not proponents of lying. We believe the problems are serious enough to stand on their own two feet without having to come up with ridiculous or exaggerated claims. That’s why we decided to investigate some of the most popular ocean waste myths and debunk them. Here, at our company, we don’t care about these ocean waste myths. We care about facts.
Myth I: Plastic islands are the biggest problem.
The idea is that there are plastic islands floating around in every ocean. Some people even fear it’s possible that the separate waste masses will form their own continent. What a load of rubbish! Yes, it’s true that we have a significant problem with plastic and many other types of ocean waste, but the islands are simply the most noticeable problem, not the biggest one.
The truth is a lot more disturbing. Waste is all over the ocean and is not simply centralized in a certain location. Thanks to the currents, there are a few places where there is a higher accumulation of debris (or the so-called “islands”), but overall rubbish everywhere and these accumulations are but a small part of the whole problem.
Myth II: Mostly ships are responsible for ocean rubbish
This is one of the most popular ocean waste myths. In fact, it’s one of our favourites, because it completely absolves us of all responsibility. As long as you haven’t taken the missus (or the mister) to a cruise lately (and if you haven’t dumped anything from that ship in the ocean), you can walk away completely guilt-free.
Yeah, that’s not how it works. The bigger percentage of plastic ocean waste is common household items (including plastic bottles, cups, and toys). Which means most of them originate from our own homes and are not the product of a very vocal minority of people. We are all at fault for this, not just a few bad seeds.
Myth III: The rubbish can be cleaned
As the myth states it, we can somehow solve the problem by “cleaning” up the oceans (and the rubbish islands) until everything is fine again. This sounds like a perfectly good “sunshine and unicorns” kind of theory.
The reality of the situation is a bit different. We cannot realistically expect that we’ll be able to clean the oceans up, even though there are really promising programs out there. As we’ve already noted, most of the waste is not even located in the same place, making this problem notoriously difficult to deal with. As of now, we have no reliable ways of dealing with it.
What can we actually do?
It’s fairly obvious that we can’t do much as normal citizens. We can’t clean up the oceans and call it a day. However, what we can do is make an effort to reduce the waste we produce. There are certain actions we can take in order to stop being a part of the problem and become a part of the solution. This alone will not solve what we’ve already done, but at least it’s a good way to cease adding more on top of it. And who knows – with enough people taking action, maybe we’ll stop polluting the planet.