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You are welcome to follow our work in Thailand with marine, endangered animals and marine awareness. Here you can read our newest blog posts about what we have been up to.
I was interviewed about plastics in the ocean for the radio the other day. One question I got was "Where is the problem most severe?" This is something that people often ask. As Europeans, we are pleased to hear that the giant floating garbage patch is found in the northern Pacific Ocean, between Japan and the coast of Florida (there are actually two separate, dynamic patches). So we are really doing okey here when it comes to litter with our great recycling systems, the real bad guys being the Asian and US citizens, right? Well, not quite.
A recent report by HELCOM shows that substantial amounts of marine litter is found in the areas of the Baltic Sea and that consumer behaviour is the number one contributor of marine litter. That´s right! Not the plastic industry, not the fishing, but private households! Also the microplastic in the seas comes from households. An estimated 130 tons of polyethylene particles from shower gels, tooth pastes and body scrubs is washed in to the Baltic Sea each year, ending up in our food chains right here.
Macrolitter floating around in Hanko, summer 2013.
But still, the majority of the world plastics ending up in the ocean comes from India, right? Well guess what? Delhi just banned the use of plastic bags! That is a huge leap forward! Here in Finland I was just offered a small plastic bag for my frozen goods in the grocery store the other day. Also, comparing India and small countries like Finland makes no sense. Instead, we should be comparing India and Europe as a whole.
As individuals, we always show examples to others with our actions. A single person can never do everything right, but a single person can set a good example and influence another person´s way of thinking, maybe directing that other person into acting in a more environmentally friendly way. And that other person can then influence yet another person, becoming a domino effect! People are herd animals, we behave as other people do. So next time, make sure to put that trash in the bin or refuse the plastic bag in the store, someone might be watching you!
Children do exactly what they learn from their parents. Summer 2016.
The contributors to this blog are the marine biologists Maria Koivisto (left) and Anu Riihimäki (right).