Ocean Plastics SOS
The Plastic Problem: By the Numbers
We produce 167 million tonnes of single-use plastics every year and 8 million tonnes end up in the oceans.
Nearly 1 000 000 plastic bottles are sold every minute worldwide. Fewer than half are recycled and only 7% are turned into new bottles.
It is estimated that 5.25 trillion plastic particles are floating in the oceans and 92% of these particles are microplastics which are less than 5 millimetres in diameter.
A single polyester sweater can release 1 000 000 tiny plastics fibers in one laundry cycle.
Marine plants and corals produce 70% of the oxygen we breathe.
Plastic pollution in fresh and marine waters is an urgent issue. Some animals eat plastic, get sick and may die. Microscopic plastics are now found in the tiny zooplankton at the base of the marine food chain. Plastic is being found in drinking water and in the seafood we eat.
Is this the world we want? Plastics in our food and water?
We can create a better future. Now is the time to curb our reliance on plastics and save the oceans and the diverse life they sustain—including us!
You Can Help!
Everyone can make a difference. Here are eight simple changes you can make to help save our planet.
Replace single-use plastics–such as bags, coffee cups and cling wrap–with reusable items. Avoid buying products wrapped in plastic.
Think before you buy clothes made of synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, because they create microplastic pollution.
Recycle your plastics and compost your food waste.
Reduce your carbon footprint. For example, drive your car less and take the bus more. Ride your bike or walk whenever you can.
Lower the heat in your home and wear more sweaters in winter.
Support renewable-energy initiatives such as solar and wind power.
Plant trees and support efforts against deforestation.
Share with others what you have learned here and in the museum’s Water Gallery about plastic ocean pollution and climate change. Help the movement to save our planet grow and flourish!
Here are resources to jumpstart your journey to make more simple changes to help save our planet.
- Take the Ocean Wise pledge to break your plastic patterns, protect our oceans and #BePlasticWise.
- Empower youth to become leaders of change through Ocean Wise’s Ocean Plastics Education.
- Make a difference to a shoreline near you by getting involved in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.