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BREAK FREE FROM PLASTIC

Save the world from plastic

HISTORY OF PLASTIC

Plastic has been around since the late eighteen hundreds and these invented substances have been called plastics because of their plasticity. Plasticity means that these materials can be molded and stretched into something. It is an ambitious task to research and study plastics. Instead of baffling you with poly this and poly that and academic level science talk, I decided to give you some background to plastics in the form of compelling videos.

These videos will give you a brief history, and tell you how they are made and also what happens to plastic in various situations.  I attached the videos because they are far more appealing to what I could write, which may send you into a glassy-eyed slumber of boredom.

MORE HISTORY AND HOW PLASTIC IS MADE

 

 

HOW TO AVOID PLASTIC

Now you know what plastic is and that we should avoid it. I can’t help but feel proud to say that we retired our kitchen rubbish bin. Yes, there is no rubbish bin in our home. There are other things though, like ecobricks and recycling containers, and I am happy to share some tips, tricks and solutions to help you on your journey to deplastify your life!

Avoiding plastic
Deplastify your life

This lovely picture is great head start. I suggest printing it and sticking it on the fridge or where you will see it often. It’s also a good idea to take a snapshot and save it as your phone’s background for a while until you get the hang of it.

 

JOINING THE MOVEMENT AND DOING YOUR PART

More information can be found from Plastic Free July.
Another link to  more information can be found here from Two Oceans Aquarium who have launched the #ReThinkTheBag Campaign.
Let’s do It are going global on cleaning up the planet on World Clean Up Day on the 15th of September. Download their World Clean Up Day App to map polluted hot spots and add to their world wide data. This data will aid communities to pick places to clean on World Clean Up Day.

SUCCESSFUL PLACES THAT HAVE BANNED PLASTIC BAGS

Did you know that Greyton in South Africa has gone plastic bag free? They are officially the first and most noteworthy town in South Africa to ban the plastic bag. Whoop whoop Greyton!

Who else have done this?
Bangladesh (March 2002)
Taiwan (January 2003)
Bhutan (June 2005)
Tanzania (2006)
San Francisco (March 2007)
China (January 2008)
Delhi (January 2009)
Mumbai (January 2010)
Maldives-Baa Atoll (2009)
Philippines (January 2011)
Italy (January 2011)
United Arab Emirates (January 2012/13)

There is a petition to ban the plastic bag in South Africa fir the reason that many South Africans don’t discard plastic properly. Add your name to this petition by clicking here.

A #BreakFreeFromPlastic Campaign has been launched by Greenpeace because plastic has such a negative impact on the environment. Their Cape Town volunteer group are looking for more volunteers to help them raise consumer awareness and clean the Black River. To step up as a volunteer, you can email info@unicorncafe.co.za. Communal service is a great way to gain experience and knowledge because you learn so much from working with different people and implementing projects. If you are looking for a job or want to build your CV, adding community work is attractive to the employer because it shows that you are a team player and care about social or environmental issues. Doing community work certainly also shows that you have initiative and a ‘can do’ attitude which puts you above other applicants. To find out more about why volunteering and community service helps you, click here.

Finally, ecobricking is a great way to contain plastic that you cannot avoid. Click here for more information.

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Yacht Boaz and Ocean Awareness

Yacht Boaz Greenpeace trip g

Yacht Boaz is a wonderful story about a neglected boat that has plotted a course, full of meaning and service, to the very sea that carries it’s weight.

The building of this boat was started by a Somerset West lawyer and continued slowly over many years. The work completed was of good quality, made with steel, smooth joints and sturdy welds. Sadly, the progress slowed down to a halt due to the illness and death of the builder. The boat stood on a small holding in Firlands, near the N2 in Gordons Bay for quite some time, while plants grew undisturbed around it.

It was going to take a great deal of labour and expense to finish this boat however luckily, the owner, who was attracted to the steel structure, had a business close by with resources to get the job done. This man was Keith Wetmore and attracted by the old fashioned charm of the boat, he soon acquired it.  It has a lot of interior space, a large saloon, an enclosed pilot house, large engines and a high freeboard (the height of a ship’s side between the waterline and the deck).

Keith’s intention for the yacht was to use it for something else other than just pleasure. When Keith prucased the hull for the boat, he was thinking about going to Madagasgar. Madagascar has beautiful tropical forests on the East Coast and a magnificent bay called Antongil Bay, also on the East Coast.

In December 2014, Keith and his wife were travelling up the East coast of Madagascar, on a local ferry to the market town of Maroantsetra, north of  Antongil Bay. Maroantsetra is cut off from transportation except by sea and air travel. The trip was about 36 hours long and quite a bit of rubbish had accumulated by the passengers.
This rubbish was deposited into plastic rubbish bags as you would expect. As Keith and the other passengers approached their final destination, a young crew member gathered all the plastic bags from all the boats and then threw them into the sea! Naturally Keith was horrified and this became a fundamental and influential turning point for him.
Later, while Keith was travelling in a rubber duck along a river, he noticed an endless stream of plastic water bottles flowing down that river and into the ocean. As explained in our previous article of Eco Bricks for the Win, plastic photodegrades in the sun and releases extremely harmful and toxic chemicals into the biosphere. Plastic in the ocean is also mistakenly eaten by marine life, ultimately leading to their cruel suffering and death.

And so, a mission was born for the boat who had been standing in field waiting for a purpose. This mission is to create awareness about plastic pollution, one nautical mile at a time. The yacht was registered as a commercial vessel with South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and certified for going to foreign lands. She was named after Boaz, who was a biblical redeemer.  This is significant because Yacht Boaz is to redeem back the ocean in the sense as to what is being lost and destroyed by marine pollution (including deadly plastic). The ‘O’ and ‘A’ in Boaz stands for Ocean Awareness.

Yacht Boaz also conducts scientific research into the health of the Western Indian Ocean by means of an annual voyage from South Africa to Madagascar and nearby islands.
She also wishes to build a ‘bridge across the ocean’ connecting the youth of South Africa to Madagascar, and surrounding islands.

In raising awareness about plastic, this craft is promoting responsible use of plastic to consumers and the general public alike, fostering the importance of accountability and the impact that every individual has on the health of our oceans.


Humans use over 300 million tonnes of new plastic every year, half of which we use only once. Eight million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. Over 700 species of marine life are known to suffer directly from the devastating effects of plastic pollution. Sea birds and mammals consume plastic, and an increasing number starve when their stomachs are full of plastic waste. Studies reveal an alarming fifty two percent of sea turtles worldwide have ingested plastic debris.

We can see that our oceans are under siege by an overwhelming epidemic of plastic pollution.

Before it’s too late, Yacht Boaz hopes to decrease the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean and that is with education, research and expeditions.

It is vital that we are informed, and that we get involved and become aware of how our actions affect our environment.


“ With every breath we take, every drop of water we drink, we’re connected to the ocean. It is our life support system, giving us more than half of the oxygen we breathe, regulating climate, and providing valuable resources.” Dr Sylvia Earle (SST Patron)

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