Boating Green: Reducing Plastics in Our Oceans
On average, 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the sea each year, making plastic pollution one of the largest threats facing ocean environments and sea-life.
40 percent of all plastic produced is for packaging, which is used only once and then thrown away, and the United States recycles just 9 percent of its plastic trash.
Most plastics are petroleum-based, designed to last forever. Since they do not biodegrade, but instead break into ever-smaller pieces without ever being absorbed back into the natural systems, they will never disappear. Instead, they cause harm to wildlife and also enter the food chain, eventually ending up in human food.
There are many ways that boaters can help prevent plastics from entering our waterways, including:
- Take any products you are bringing on to the boat out of their plastic packaging before you board
- Transfer drinks and food into reusable containers
- Don’t throw trash overboard
- Always secure your trash so it doesn’t accidentally end up in the water
- Always cut six-pack rings so that they can never become a hazard for wildlife
Remember: under federal law, it is illegal for any vessel to discharge plastics or garbage containing plastics into any waters.