In a place where winds carry crisp Antarctic air and wild seas shape our rugged coastline, it was surprising to find so much plastic washed up on beaches along Tasmania’s south coast. In a small section of beach near our campsite last weekend along this wild and remote coastline that forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, we counted hundreds of particles scattered amongst the kelp, shells and sand.
The statistics tell a sobering story - in Australia we consume over three million tonnes of plastic per year, only around 9% is recycled, while around 429,000 plastic bags enter landfill every hour. Encountering this kind of pollution in a place like this is what really brings home the urgency of the global waste crisis, as plastic is beginning to enter our food chains and ecosystems in alarming amounts resulting in impacts on wildlife and human health, the need to develop radically different ways packaging and supplying goods is readily apparent when walking along the high water line.
In a world where plastic is found everywhere, reducing our individual impact is one way we can contribute to fixing this - the Australian Marine Conservation Society has put together a great resource to help find ways to reduce individual consumption, while the South West Marine Debris Cleanup has been working to keep plastic off these wild coastlines for two decades, collecting over 112,000 pieces of marine debris in their 2018 cleanup. I highly recommend giving them your support to help get more plastic off our beaches in 2020.