Did you know that in a single year 100,000 marine creatures and one million seabirds die from plastic? And these are only the ones found… Next time you’re bounding across the sand after a surf, keep an eye out. You won’t have to look hard. Take three (or more) pieces of plastic with you and join the tens of thousands of people across the globe who follow Take 3. This booming non-for-profit organisation aims to make our oceans a safer and cleaner place.
Take 3 founded after a surf trip to Hawaii
Amanda Marechal, co-founder of Take 3, was inspired to make a difference after a family surf trip to Hawaii in 2009. “I was horrified at how much plastic pollution I saw in the ocean. I came home absolutely determined to do something about it. And I was convinced that if other surfers and ocean enthusiasts knew about this issue they’d feel as strongly as I do.”
So she reached out to her good friend and marine ecologist Roberta Dixon Valk. “After many energised discussions, we decided that taking three bits off the beach was a ‘doable’ amount. Especially with a surfboard under one arm. So, Roberta crafted our vision statement and Take 3 was born”.
3/4 of Australian beaches rubbish is plastic
But the challenge is huge. In 2016, Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO, Denise Hardesty published a report on their study concerning human-made litter in the marine environment. They discovered some shocking figures. There is an estimated 150 million pieces of litter around the Australian coastline. That’s six pieces of rubbish per inhabitant or 4000 pieces for every km2 of coastline. Also, 3/4 of all rubbish found off Australian beaches is plastic
But one statistic in particular blew Amanda’s mind… “Approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is entering the world’s oceans every single year. The same amount of tuna is being fished out of the ocean in the same space of time. You don’t have to be good at maths to realise there’s something drastically wrong with that equation”. Along with tuna and other fish, defenceless marine animals are unfortunately the ones who suffer from all this garbage. In fact, about a third of the global marine turtle population are affected every year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic marine debris.
Take solving the problem to the next level
Like most big issues on our planet, plastic pollution is caused by a number of factors. the co-founder of Take 3 has done her research and found that convenience, people’s habits and lack of awareness are the three main reasons why plastic pollution has become such a big issue. “Our lives are busy and the convenience single use plastic offers can be hard to turn down. Also, the fact that so many everyday items come pre-packaged in plastic makes it hard for people to break their buying habits, even if they want to.”
This is why Amanda has plenty of other ways to help fight plastic pollution. “Picking up rubbish from the beach is really just the beginning. You can take solving the problem much further. For example, reducing single-use plastic consumer items like straws, water bottles and plastic bags is a great next step. Then you can work on shifting your habits to repurpose, recycle and refuse single-use plastics whenever possible and simply buy less overall.” That’s where big change starts to really happen.
By Matilda Meakes
Have you remembered to #Take3ForTheSea today? Follow @take3forthesea on Instagram & Facebook and join Take 3 in their mission to inspire and empower everyone to do their bit for our precious oceans.