Welcome, beach season! Here comes the season when everyone packs up and leaves to Sa7el! We’re hoping you’re enjoying your vacation and making the best out of this beaming July sun, but we’re also hoping to point your attention towards an important issue that you might have already noticed while you’re enjoying the beach – plastic. You must have noticed the occasional empty plastic water bottle buried somewhere in the sand, or a randomly floating plastic bag as you’re enjoying the sea. And that’s exactly the problem.
The Bitter Truth
Our very own Yara Yassin experienced firsthand what could possibly be our reality years from now in her most recent trip to Lesan El Wozara, Marina. The beach was taken over by all kinds of waste from cans of fizzy drinks to shampoo bottles, and even diapers! The water itself was so full of tiny pieces of plastic floating around that she was unable to swim because of all the pieces getting stuck to her body.
To Yara, it was shocking and sad to realize that this is the reality of all beaches, unless an active effort is put into cleaning them of all such washed up and windborne waste. Even if the beaches get cleaned, the sheer fact that such an amount of waste can exist is a red flag. The waste we’re leaving behind is taking over our surroundings, and plastic in particular, isn’t the type of material that’s so simply going to decompose by itself in a year or two.
Some Facts About Plastic
Internatonal Coastal Cleanup estimates that plastic can take from 10 up to 1000 years to decompose, depending on the object (bag, bottle, lid, etc.) Not exactly the most eco-friendly material, eh? And with the amount of plastic waste going into our oceans every year (more than eight million tonnes), it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish, according to the Independent!
Apart from the awful aesthetic consequences of having this amount of plastic pile up, there are other more practical and more serious ones. Hundreds of species of aquatic animals are being negatively impacted by the presence of plastic in our waters, according to National Geographic. They either get tangled up in plastic objects, or eat them after mistaking them for food, damaging their organs. And in both cases, it might lead to their death.
And because what goes around comes around, it’s very probable that we eat some of these same creatures that have fed on those plastic items, putting us at a potential risk. But even if we suppose such plastics are completely harmless to our bodies, they’re obviously not so friendly to our environment. It can safely be said that the least we can do to help the environment, and ourselves in turn, is to do our best to be conscious about our consumption of this ever-so-convenient, but deeply problematic, material.
So, next time you’re heading to the beach, here are a few tips that can help you become more sustainable and reduce your consumption of single-use plastic (e.g. plastic water bottles, bags, straws)
1. Package your favorite beach snacks in reusable lunch boxes instead of plastic bags.
2. Ditch plastic water bottles, and bring along your own reusable water bottle.
3. If there’s no nearby trash bin at the beach, use the leftover packaging from your eaten snacks as a makeshift trash bag till you find one or till you go back to your room. Make sure you talk to the person responsible about the issue of not having enough trash bins around, if you’re at a private beach.
5. You can even embark on your own mini clean-up, as Alia Nael and Omar Diab suggested over here! And we at Up-fuse are doing our own part to support this brilliant initiative by offering a 10% discount on any of our products if you take a photo of the plastic items you collect, tag us in it and use the hashtag #DoingMyPart. Let’s do this!
6. Buy a reusable travelling mug and ask your barista to fill it up for you instead of relying on the café/juice bar’s disposable cups.
7. Try to reduce the amount of plastic cutlery you use. For example, mention that you don’t need plastic cutlery while ordering a takeaway or delivery meal.
8. Know these cloth bags lying around the house that originally served as packaging for a product or that you got as a giveaway? Use one as a shopping bag! Better yet, buy a brand new one with a cool design!