They say by the year 2050 that there will be more trash in the ocean than fish.
Judging by these shocking photos captured by photographer Carolina Power, we are well on our way to this horrific reality.
Caroline Power is well-known for her incredible photography that is focused on bringing awareness to environmental issues that are endangering this beautiful Planet we call home.
Instead of pointing fingers at any one person, Power encourages us all to take a look in the mirror at how our own actions contribute to the problem.
Alongside her photographs, Power posed questions like: “Do you still use plastic garbage bags? Plastic soda bottles? Ziplock bags? Plastic wrap on your food?”
Chances are, you probably do. We can gawk at these images all day, but real change will only come from each one of us doing something about it.
“I challenge every person and every business to keep your trash for one week. Separate your organic and recyclables and keep everything else for one week. You will be disgusted how many single use items you use,” Power writes.
In the image above, you can see a lot of the pollution in the Caribbean, as well as all over the world, comes from Styrofoam containers and plastic utensils.
Most of us are guilty of using these things to enjoy a quick meal, but have you ever stopped to think about where it all goes after you throw it away?
According to Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer from the University of Georgia, the sheer amount of pollution we are faced with would “break any system.”
It’s clearly breaking our system, as well as threatening the oceans we – and so many other species – depend on.
It’s not just Ziplock bags and plastic forks that are clogging up our waterways and contributing to the 165 million tons of plastic currently wafting in our oceans. The clothing industry is adding insult to injury.
Whenever you wash your yoga pants, shorts, tank tops, or any clothing made from synthetic materials, tiny plastic fibers shed into the water, drain into natural waterways, and finally, end up in the ocean.
Microfibers are so small that tiny plants and fish cannot filter them out. Therefore, they continue to build up, contributing to 85% of shoreline pollution around the world.
Styrofoam, plastic utensils, shampoo bottles, plastic wrap on just about everything you buy, and not to mention the clothing you wear sheds microplastics every time you wash them – all of this, and more, is how we’ve reached a problem of this magnitude.
We use 20x more plastic now than we did 50 years ago, and that number continues to rise.
You may be great about throwing away your trash, and recycling anything marked with a recycle sign, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing to the issue.
By some estimates, only 14% of recyclable plastic ends up getting recycled. According to other sources, that number is even lower – one recent estimate suggested only 9% of plastics are recycled.
Additionally, even trash that makes its way to a designated landfill can still pollute the oceans, along with ground soil.
According to a study published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the amount of pollution entering the ocean is “equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.”
So, how can you be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem?
For one, take note of how many one-time-use items you use and then work to reduce that number. In addition, you can purchase special bags, known as Guppy Bags, to wash your clothes in that’ll catch up to 90% of microfibers.
Whatever you do, don’t give up hope. We must believe that we can do better, because we can!