As we reach the end of July - known as plastic free month, it's important to remember the horrendous suffering plastic is causing to ocean life 365 days per year.
The problem of plastic pollution in the ocean has now reached epic proportions and at least 8 million tons is being added every single year From coral reef to tiny crabs to sea turtles and massive whales, no creature is immune to the plague of plastic human ‘kind' has unleashed.
Be it entanglement, slow suffocation or strangulation, microplastic ingestion, or the bioaccumulation of toxins, animals are dying in large numbers and in terrible ways.
There are now, according to a 2015 report, more than 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.
To give you an idea of how big a number 51 trillion is, it's more than 500 times the number of stars in our galaxy.
"At the rate at which we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags, cups and straws after a single use, by 2050 we will have more plastics in the oceans than fish,"said Erik Solheim, a former UN Environment Executive Director.
A turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose had to be operated on. This one was ‘lucky' to have been helped - imagine those that continue to suffer until death.
This penguin never had the chance to make it to adulthood:
A baby turtle imprisoned in plastic:
Another baby turtle defecated an entire balloon
In another shocking study in 2019, it was found that 100% of dolphins, whales and seals which had died off the UK coast contained plastic.
A pregnant sperm whale in the Mediterranean was found dead with 20kg of plastic in its stomach and has starved to death because it was not able to ingest its food.
A whale off the coast of California was found to have more than 200kg of fishing tackle and plastic bags in its stomach.
As can be seen in this one report, the list of horrors goes on and on and on.
Literally millions of animals, birds, sharks and fish are being killed every year.
And of course the plastic is eventually being consumed by humans as well - via the microplastic inside the fish we eat.
About the Author
Anthony McLennan is an experienced journalist who has written for some of South Africa's biggest publications. Also a photographer, soccer coach, dog-lover and surfer, enjoys spending time outdoors in beautiful Cape Town. He believes that a new approach is needed to sustain our planet and that it is important to put this message out.