With the rate we are using and disposing of plastic, soon, the gulf and the marine creatures that thrive on these waters will be choking in debris. The recent monsoon rains showed us how marine debris can destroy coastal villages, battering houses made of light materials and toppling these like dominoes.
Efforts to clean the coastal areas by concerned groups have become palliative, as no matter how frequent mountains of trash are picked up, the pile continues to grow every single day. The detritus of urban living find its way to our canals, rivers and ultimately, the gulf.
A fine example of this is the recent report of the Ancillary Service Unit of the city government. In yesterday’s report, it said they have recorded 21,428 sacks of garbage collected from 26 coastal barangay and seven riverbanks from January to August this year. The month of August had the most number of debris collected at 3,147 sacks, which may not be surprising at all as this was the season of monsoon rains.
This however may not draw an accurate figure of the garbage that actually goes into the sea. The D’Bone Museum is a testament that all kinds of materials – twine, nets, plastic bottles, caps, find their way to the sea – and cause the deaths of many marine mammals. We all know that plastic takes more than a lifetime to disintegrate and when it is swept to the sea, it crumbles into tiny particles called microplastic which becomes more dangerous to marine life.
The garbage patches, of which the Great Pacific garbage patch is the most enormous, has continued to baffle marine environmentalists who want to at least remove the marine debris from the gyre. A gyre is a large system of rotating ocean currents and there are five major gyres on earth.
How do we actually make our environment laws work? It takes each one of us to reverse environment degradation. We can start in our homes by choosing not to use single use plastic, segregating garbage at source and mindful consumption. These can do wonders for the health of our ocean, which is our life.