5 Gyres empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure. It’s exactly the sort of organization that inspires us with hope while providing sound and hard-won data. As we try to do our best against the blight of plastic, here’s a group we can support and FOLLOW (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Want the latest research? Their new Research Hub lets you access the best scientific studies that can drive solutions to plastic pollution. Easy to use, the Hub also showcases a series of Policy Briefs focusing on the worst types of plastic pollution and what we can do about them.
The media 5 Gyres shares can help us understand how hard people are working. A recent article they shared from MyGoodPlanet on microplastics really opened my eyes to more that I can be doing.
“Even though the plastic pollution problem is a far bigger issue than we can yet fully understand and comprehend, there are several steps that each of us can take in order to reduce further plastic and particularly microplastic pollution. Firstly and foremost reduce and refuse plastic whenever it is possible, reuse and recycle as much as possible. To reduce microplastics in particular, avoid personal hygiene products that contain microbeads. However, one of the biggest creators of small plastic particles is synthetic fibres (any man made material), and as ironic (and sad) it might be, this also includes clothing made out of recycled plastic bottles. Dr. Mark Browne, an ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at the National Centre of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, explains:
“every time a synthetic garment — one made of manmade rather than natural fibers — goes through the spin and rinse cycle in a washing machine, it sheds a large number of plastic fibers. Most washing machines don’t have filters to trap these miniscule microfibers, and neither do sewage plants that are responsible for removing contaminants. So every time the water drains from a washing machine, plastic filaments are swept through the sewers and eventually end up in the ocean.”
So while we all do our best, there is always more to learn and groups to support. One thing we can do is to inspire others with action. Join the world’s largest coastal cleanup day with 5 Gyres on September 15. (coincidentally that is also one of 5 Gyres Ambassadors, Zane Schweitzer, co-author of Blue Life Journal, birthday). More info here.