BY the year 2050 there will be more plastic rubbish floating in our oceans than fish unless we make some drastic changes to the way use and dispose of plastic materials.

This is the prediction from a report presented at this year’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, which also suggests that marine and bird life will be devastated in just three short decades unless we act now to collectively reduce plastic consumption, increase recycling and dispose of plastic waste appropriately.

Yet despite the drastic urgency surrounding this issue, too many people are unaware of just how damaging everyday plastic has the potential to be. To this end, celebrated Canadian photographer and visual artist Benjamin Von Wong has recently launched an international campaign with a series of images he hopes will work to raise awareness and action on plastic pollution in our oceans.

AUSTRALIA’S PLASTIC ADDICTION

Increasing plastic waste on our beaches and in the sea is devastating marine life, says James Cordwell, marine campaigner for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“Plastic pollution is a very real threat to our marine environment that has become such a problem that it’s literally choking the life out of our oceans and beaches,” he says.

“You won’t find a beach in Australia that doesn’t have some form of plastic washed up on it.”

The Australian Marine Conservation Society reports that almost 90 per cent of the marine debris found on beaches is plastic — mostly bottles, caps and straws.

Australians buy around 600 million litres of bottled water a year, which then make up around 38 per cent of all plastic in the ocean. And that as a nation we use around 10 million plastic bags a day, which equates to 3.9 billion plastic bags a year.

“Plastic is floating around out there, choking and tangling wildlife,” Cordwell says. “Fish are unknowingly ingesting tiny plastic microparticles and sea turtles are biting into what they think are juicy jellyfish but instead end up with plastic bags stuck in their guts. Even seabirds who find visible plastic out at sea, thinking it’s a fish, bring it back to fed to their chicks who then die from its ingestion.”

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