Hawaiian Paddle Sports is Joining the Eat Less Plastic Voyage
How you Can Help
Film – plastic fragments, chip or candy wrappers
Fragment – hard pieces
Foam – soft pieces
Line – bits of fishing line
Pellet – plastic pellets
Why It’s Important
According to a 2014 study by international scientists in collaboration with the non-profit 5 Gyres, there were 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons in the world’s oceans. Every year thereafter, another 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean. The Crew aboard the sailboat TODAY will be collecting vital plastic debris data in previously unstudied waters. We invite you to join them on this journey by making a financial donation (at any amount) which will help offset the enormous cost of this citizen science project. Research tools and materials, fuel, food, safety equipment, airfare, film crew and outreach materials are necessary to the success of this project and the end goal of sharing the research and story with school and community groups. Hawaiian Paddle Sports will match dollar for dollar the first $2,500 donated to this campaign.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Photo of marine debris
According to a 2014 study by international scientists in collaboration with the non-profit 5 Gyres, there were 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons in the world’s oceans. Every year thereafter, another 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean. Plastic is an amazing innovation. It has an incredible strength to weight ratio, high durability and is fairly cheap to make. Businesses and in turn their consumers want to make their money go further. Naturally, they choose products that are cheap and durable. The very attributes that make plastic so appealing, also make it highly detrimental to our oceans. It doesn’t break down and because it’s cheap, there’s a lot of it. The average American generates an estimated 185 LBS of plastic trash per year. Each of those plastics takes an average of 200 years to break down. That’s twice a human lifespan!
Where Does Our Trash Go?
Trash on Maui beaches
Straws and Sea Turtles
Plastic marine debris is harmful to our ocean inhabitants on many levels. We know plastic 6-pack rings get stuck on fish and turtles, inhibiting their growth or choking them. We have seen sea turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses. A new documentary shows an albatross dying from a stomach full of impassable plastics. Humpback whales are regularly rescued from entanglement in plastic fishing nets. A recently deceased pilot whale when exhumed was found to have over 20 LBS of plastic bags in its stomach. Organisms on the ocean floor at depths of up to 5200 meters have been found to have ingested plastics. More recently, plastics are showing up on our plates in our seafood. Scientists estimate that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050. Even if you do not consume seafood or any animal products for that matter, this statistic should ring an alarm bell for you. Micro-plastic presence in our seafood is evidence that the world’s marine animals are eating it. Though there are not sufficient studies surrounding the health effects in humans who eat plastic, we have a pretty good idea it is not great for us. Many people have heard about Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA plastic. Some studies indicated this plastic used in for packaging can leech into the very food it is holding. Once consumed, the human body confuses it for estrogen, allowing it to interfere with the endocrine system. Full details on the health effects of BPA can be read HERE. Countless companies started switching packaging and advertising that their products were BPA free. Lab tests show micro plastics found in human lungs may cause an inflammatory response.
Sustainability in Hawaii
Aerial photo of crystal clear water at Olowalu in Maui
Photos of trash removed from the ocean during Hawaiian Paddle Sports tours
Support A Plastic Free Ocean
How to Reduce Plastic Waste
Consider a Reusable Straw
- Think about the last time you used a drinking straw. How long did you use it? Did you know straws are not recyclable and can take up to 200 years to decompose? These days there are a lot of cool alternatives. Some restaurants are exploring the use of paper straws and even pasta. Consider investing in a reusable straw and bring it with you. Check out the list over at TheLastPlasticStraw.org for details.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
- We all need water and most of us could stand to drink more. Investing in a reusable water bottle could be beneficial for both you and the environment!
Use a Reusable Coffee Mug
- Coffee seems to be the one to go item where establishments do not refuse the use of a personal container for sanitary reasons. All coffee drinkers should bring their own mug. When you need coffee, you might be a little fuzzy so it’s a good idea to keep one in your car or bag at all times.
Pack Reusable Cutlery
- Plastic cutlery is yet another product with a very shot usage period that takes a very long time to decompose. Plus it is not even pleasant to use! If you like to go camping, you might already have packable cutlery that should not be reserved just to come out in the backcountry. There are a lot of options out there, but you could also just pick up a few regular stainless steel pieces at Goodwill or Salvation Army. That way you don’t have to worry about loosing a part of your household set.
Buy Glass and Aluminum
- There are recycling cans and bins nearly everywhere these days, but did you know a lot of plastic can only be reused one time? It’s also a lot more expensive than making new plastic containers. Glass and Aluminum can be reused indefinitely, so look for food in these materials whenever possible.
Pick up 5 Pieces of Trash
- Organized beach cleanups are fantastic, but we can do our part in everyday life. Make a commitment to pick up 5 pieces of trash during one or your favorite activities. Whether it’s before surfing, hiking, running or walking the dog, you will find it is a lot easier than you think to find 5 pieces and every litter bit counts.
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Have a tip on reducing plastic waste that is not covered here? Tell us about it in the comments below. Mahalo!