By Jennifer Kellley, conservation editor
June 5th is World Environment day. This year’s theme is #BeatPlasticPollution. It is relevant to citizens and anglers worldwide because plastic trash disolves into micro-particles that enter ecosystems and food chains both on land and within our water systems. From the depth of the Mariana Trench to your nearby fishing haunt, plastic, namely plastic containers used for single use items, have created up to 13 metric tons of non-degradable garbage worldwide. That garbage is dumped in rivers, lakes, and oceans to such a degree that stopping the deluge of plastic refuse has become one of the most critical conservation issues that exists today. Today, miles wide “islands” of plastic garbage drift across our oceans.
Here are some ways you can make a personal pledge to combat the problem:
- Purchase reusable water bottles and buy a water filter for your faucet.
- Find alternatives to plastic bags, which can be as easy as requesting paper bags to your cashier or bringing a reusable grocery bag to your market or store.
- Use reusable utensils for your lunches, dinners, and snacks when out on the boat or out on the river, or anywhere for that matter.
- Stop using micro-beads, often found in beauty products. The beads easily slip through water treatment facilities and can reenter the waterways. Fish do not know one way or the other the micro-beads are not food and can seriously affect the health and well-being of populations – both in the wild and in fisheries.
- Volunteer or organize a beach or river shoreline cleanup day in your area or help fund a nonprofit group that is.
On June 5th, even if it is a small gesture (remember many people doing small things add up), make a pledge to yourself to change your plastic using habits, switch to reusable water bottles, stop using plastic straws, and/or find a conservation group you admire and join up to support the cause.