The Ocean Plastic Crisis – The Caribbean Isn’t Invulnerable
What is the one thing that we encounter and see most of in our day to day lives? Plastics. This synthetic material is literally at your fingertips throughout the whole day. Plastic keyboards, plastic coffee cups, plastic credit cards. Plastic is an inexpensive, rigid and easily malleable product that can be used to manufacture almost anything and are now the most common form of marine debris. All plastic production starts with a piece of coal, a slick of oil, or natural gas. These petroleum-based products make lives easier but, at what cost? And, to our oceans?
The Scary Statistics
Eight years ago, researchers in the United States and Australia led by Jenna Jambeck, analyzed ocean plastic waste levels. Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia is an expert in this field. The team found that China and Indonesia are the top sources of plastic bottles, bags and other rubbish clogging up global sea lanes. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, both nations account for more than a third of plastic detritus in global waters.
In 2010, 8.8M metric tons(MT) of mismanaged plastic waste came from China and an estimated 3.53M MT entered our ocean as harmful debris. In addition, 3.2M MT of plastic from Indonesia was found mismanaged with an estimated 1.29 million MT becoming plastic marine debris. Annually, 110 thousand metric tons of waterborne plastic comes from the United States. While we all might not share the same land, we do share the same oceans – take pride in them.
Located off the coast of California, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. The mass is twice the size of Texas with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one. At the rate we are currently going, by 2050, plastic marine waste will outweigh the fish in the sea. This is an alarming statistic.
Staniel Air’s Conservation Efforts
The Bahamas is home to exotic wildlife, a sought after vacation destination and Staniel Air’s home away from home. The preservation of its natural beauty is on the top of our priority list. Being an airline that goes back and forth to The Bahamas multiple times a week, we see firsthand the effects plastic waste is starting to have on these pristine waters. So, we have initiatives that we’ve taken upon ourselves to help preserve our ocean’s habits.
We responsibly pack and carry freight with us to reduce the carbon footprint of cargo shipments. We do this by utilizing reusable cargo containers to bring goods back and forth from the islands where we can. From the islands, plastic waste is loaded and brought back to the states to be recycled properly. We share our conservation knowledge and practices with our guests in an effort to encourage them to conserve The Bahamas’ natural beauty. Consistently encouraging our guests to take preservation initiatives on their own while visiting the islands makes a positive impact.
Keeping Our Animal Friends Homes Clean
Aside from conservation efforts during flying – what do we do on the islands to promote and assist in conservation? The islands are like our company’s second home so we always leave it cleaner than we found it. Staniel Air assists in keeping the beaches and waters there as clean as can be. Our company participates in beach cleanups with the locals. While in the boat, we stop every time we see ocean waste. We stop whether it’s to collect the waste we left or others before us.
If you know about Staniel then you know we love our Swimming Pigs! Keeping their home clean is extremely important to us. Whenever we pull the boat up to our favorite beach, we always look for rubbish to be picked up. The same goes for the Bahamian Rock Iguana’s home, Thunderball Grotto, Compass Cay, and all of our other favorite spots.
Swimming with sharks can be scary, but not as scary as our plastic crisis. Wherever you are, please help keep our oceans and beaches clean.