What do you want to swim with, plastic or fish?

By 2050 it is predicted there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, a thought you could barely conceive. But, this is fast becoming a reality with 8 million metric tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year.

We live in a disposable society where many products are single use or have a product lifespan of less than 1-3 years. A plastic bag has an average lifespan of just 15 minutes and we use 1 million of these every minute! More plastic has been produced in the last ten years than during the whole of the last century.

Of the plastics produced research shows only approximately 9% are recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% accumulates in landfills or the natural environment. The problem with such high discard? Plastics are resistant to biodegrading, hence they can exist for centuries or even indefinitely - a plastic water bottle 450 years, a disposable nappy 500 years, styrofoam 5000 years!

What does this mean?

If we continue on this trajectory and do not change our ways, we will literally be swimming in rubbish. Our wildlife will continue to suffer from entanglement and ingestion leaving our oceans devoid of marine diversity. Human health will be at greater risk through consumption of plastic in the food chain.

We need solutions

Over the past 5 years Earthwatch has sent citizen science teams on marine debris projects in Australia, Bali, South Africa and Peru to help researchers from CSIRO and Southern Cross University understand debris loads and debris sources within these regions. We’ve also been working with business, including packaging companies, to help transform their way of thinking and make change at the production level.

We have an exciting opportunity to make a real difference in Australia’s top leisure destination, Indonesia.

By partnering with the Plastic Collective, local NGO Sea Communities and Southern Cross University, we aim to help smaller villages within Indonesia to create a circular economy from their waste. These villages do not have formal waste collection or waste management infrastructure. Together, we are introducing a machine that will enable the community to turn plastic waste into reusable products such as woven floor mats, baskets, jewellery, water tanks and even housing material.

You can help

We need to act now to stop plastics entering our oceans and we cannot do it without you.

By donating to Earthwatch, your generosity and commitment will help us to:

  • Install Shruder machines into small coastal villages in Bali
  • Upskill the community in running their own microbusiness
  • Build awareness of plastic pollution and the need to reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Research the environmental benefits of small-scale recycling in remote island communities
  • Prevent debris from entering the environment
  • Change social behaviour 

With your support, research findings will provide evidence required to upscale this across Asia, which means YOU will help us repurpose waste and significantly reduce plastics in our oceans. 

You can join our Turning the Tide expedition in April 2020 and travel to Bali to be part of this cutting-edge project.