It’s been a crazy few weeks getting ready for the Azores! I’m finally almost packed after running around shopping centres after work and hunting down bits & pieces that have become lost over a whirlwind summer in London. I thought I’d take a bit of time to talk about one of the activities we’ll be taking part in on the islands. Whilst on the archipelago, we will be assisting researchers from the University of the Azores in quantifying plastics found on Porto Pim beach. The team of researchers have already studied 42 beaches on the archipelago, finding over 27,000 pieces of plastic throughout these.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m big on reducing single-use plastic, as any sensible person in 2018 should be. There is currently an estimated 5 trillion or more pieces of plastic in our oceans, more than the number of trees on earth! These plastics can be deadly for our marine and terrestrial life, with risks of entanglement, choking and bioaccumulation. Seeing plastic pollution as a standard occurrence for marine fauna is saddening to say the least (look closely at the photograph below & you’ll understand what I mean!).
Photo credit: Abbie Smith-Page
An activity such as marine plastic surveying is a perfect opportunity for anyone like me, who loves spending their spare time beach-cleaning. Hands on experience with marine plastics definitely puts into perspective just how much of an impact each of us have on our environment, and I’m sure it will get many of us thinking more about how we can reduce our plastic waste!
Many of us already use reusable water bottles & coffee cups on a day to day basis, which is great considering only 0.25% of coffee cups actually end up being recycled! Using solid shampoos and soaps are not only more convenient for travelling, but are also a great way of minimising day to day plastic use. Taking a reusable container to work with you can save you from those nasty polystyrene boxes many takeaway food establishments want to give you for your lunch! Small changes can have a bigger impact than you think when they’re part of your daily routine, and personally I get a kick out of finding new things to replace my plastic products with (my favourite birthday present this year being sustainable bamboo hairbrush).
The next time you hear from me I’ll finally be in the Azores! I can’t wait to report back with some of the interesting things we found in the plastic surveys, and all of the other amazing things we’ll be getting up to! Once again, the instagram, Facebook and twitter accounts for the trip are linked below, make sure to check them out!
See you in the Azores!
ra420 September 8th, 2018 Azores