More than one-third of the debris cataloged on beaches comes from single use, disposable plastic packaging from food and beverage containers (things such as single-use disposable plastic cups, bottles, straws, utensils, and stirrers). The other 20% of items making up ocean trash is attributed to at-sea losses from accidental or deliberate dumping from ocean going ships and other sailing craft. and abandoned or lost fishing gear. In beach cleanups, the top ten items collected are 1: cigarette butts, 2. food wrappers, 3. plastic beverage containers, 4. plastic bottle caps, 5. straws and stirrers, 6. miscellaneous plastic bags, 7. plastic grocery bags, 8. glass bottles, 9. bottle caps (not plastic), 10. Plastic cups and plates. Reducing all of this trash on land is very important to prevent the tremendous marine trash beds that we now find swirling in the oceans.
Pictured above is just one of the numerous types of cleaning vessels scavenging in our oceans. They all work differently but their end purpose is the same ...to cull the trash out of the ocean and bring it back to shore to recyclers to reprocess and repurpose it or dispose of it properly. In many cases part of what the ships obtain is processed for fuel to propel them in their travels. The ships also utilize solar and wind energy for propulsion. Some 1000 rivers around the world empty into the ocean and the rivers are terribly contaminated by on land trash. Now barges to fit the waterways are patrolling here as well to clean and cull the trash before it reaches the ocean.
What can we do as parents to teach our children to take care of our waterways. I find that if you let them have fun with a subject or play a game with it, the lessons learned stay with them. Since I am an artist, I enjoy playing the "trash into treasure" game. We walk the beach (or walk wherever you live) and pick up various bits off recyclable trash that have been discarded.. Then we come back and each person turns his or her trash into a piece of "art". It is so much fun to see what creative works come out of the trash. If the kids want, we award a prize at the end for the best recycled treasure.
It is fun to see creativity at work while cleaning up the environment.