Plastic pollution is causing serious harm to marine life globally, but what if the damage could be prevented? Solving the problem starts on land.
What if world seas could be saved from pollution?
Juha Salminen and Jarkko KeinänenPlastic pollution is a huge threat to the wellbeing of the world’s oceans and seas. Most of the waste originates from land, and drifts into the water causing serious harm to whales, dolphins, turtles, birds, fish and other marine animals that get trapped in the trash or ingest the tiny plastic particles floating in the water.
Plastic does not break down, which means that it can linger in the sea and ocean for years. Eventually the toxic matter enters the food chain affecting the health and wellbeing of people around the globe. But what if further damage could be prevented and existing issues dealt with?
Small actions have big impact
Solving the problem starts on land. Small changes to everyday choices such as avoiding the purchase of throwaway carrier bags, water bottles and coffee cups with plastic lids and replacing those with sustainable alternatives can have a big impact on the long term. Buying a stainless steel water bottle or a cup instead of disposable plastic ones is an action that benefits the user too.
Durable items save money over time and can be better for the health because they contain less harmful toxins – they have a long life expectancy and they can be recycled endlessly without loss of quality. A stainless steel cup or a water bottle can even be passed from generation to generation, further adding to the emotional value.
Together toward healthier seas
Even if all the people in the world immediately changed their habits and stopped generating more plastic waste, the world’s oceans and seas would still be filled with trash. That’s why they need our help not only to prevent the problem from growing, but by improving the current situation. Fortunately the problem has been acknowledged and important steps toward preserving these bodies of water from further damage are being taken. One of the organizations working towards healthier marine life is the John Nurminen Foundation. In March 2016, the foundation completed an art project titled Horizon in Helsinki’s Jätkäsaari. The project enabled anyone to donate money by purchasing a small stainless steel plate engraved with the name of the donor. The stunning artwork now consists of 4,225 plates forming a 54-meters-long installation that glimmers in the sun – reminding us of the importance of the protection of the Baltic Sea. Outokumpu took part in the project by providing the stainless steel used in the artwork. “Nature protection is a concept that encompasses many smaller entities, and I hope that Horizon will make us all think about how we can impact these issues in our everyday lives,” says Hannu Kähönen, designer of the artwork.Art makes a difference
The profits of the project, nearly 120,000 euros, were directed at the Clean Baltic Sea projects organized by the John Nurminen Foundation. The majority of money went toward purchasing a chemical container that was installed at Gatchina water utility in Northwest Russia last November. The 100,000 euros container is used to eliminate phosphorus in the water in order to stop the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. The remaining funds are directed at other projects aiming to improve the health of the marine environment that is essential to all of our wellbeing.