Ever since millions of us around the world watched the heartbreaking scenes in Blue Planet II where a Sperm Whale attempts to eat a large piece of a plastic bucket, we have been increasingly aware of the impact our use of, and careless disposal of plastic is having on our natural world. This impact is particularly significant on our oceans, and the creatures that live in it and rely on it for food.
Now with the recent BBC documentary ‘Drowning in Plastic’ this impact has been highlighted in graphic detail, with scenes of huge rafts of plastic litter floating down rivers and seabirds with stomachs filled with small, sharp fragments they have ingested, mistaking these for food.
Whilst we can’t change the world single handedly, we can all do our bit by reducing our consumption of single use plastic, such as plastic bags, straws and bottles and recycling those items we cannot do without so that they do not end up in landfill.
I won’t pretend I have made massive changes so far, but I am trying to make little differences to my lifestyle to reduce my own plastic use. It is not an easy task when we are surrounded by plastic everywhere a daily basis, often unnecessarily. I am regularly frustrated by items already perfectly well packaged in a cardboard box, only to be cocooned in plastic also. Why?! Supermarkets and online retailers are massive contributors to this and it can be very difficult to avoid plastic packaging, even when you want to.
Keen to do more, I recently took the ‘Naked Cards’ pledge, and removed the plastic wrapping from my greetings cards. A small step, but just think how many cards are out in circulation, all enclosed in their own individual plastic bag, which will go into the bin almost as soon as it leaves the shop. The numbers are mind boggling.
If you sell greetings cards you can join the naked pledge here: www.nakedcards.co.uk
I also hope to use my photography to highlight the problems of litter and plastic pollution in my own back yard here in Aberystwyth, and hopefully raise awareness in the process.
Here are some examples:
A female house sparrow foraging at the edge of the harbour on a raft of plastic bags, paper and a plastic spoon. Thankfully these items are too large to pose a threat to this small bird but some of our larger seabirds could easily ingest this.
A Herring Gull picking up a piece of plastic food wrapping from a well known supermarket chain.
A Jackdaw picking apart a small piece of polystyrene, luckily it did not swallow any of the pieces.
A Herring Gull chick picking up a large piece of polystyrene, mistaking it for food.
Jackdaws picking through leaves on the beach, the flotsam scattered with more pieces of polystyrene and small plastic fragments.
A flock of Herring Gulls feeding on food scraps thrown away inside a plastic bag and plucked out of a bin by one of these opportunistic birds.
A jackdaw inspecting a discarded plastic drink carton.
Another sparrow perching on top of lobster pots. Their nylon ropes are often lost out at sea and are another huge contributor to the plastic problem, as well as hazard to marine life that can get entangled in them.
The skull of a seabird (species unidentified) found among flotsam on the beach. A victim of natural causes? Or perhaps plastic pollution is responsible, we will never know…
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your own plastic waste.
-use a reusable coffee/drinks cup – don’t drink bottled water (here in the UK, most tap water is perfectly safe to drink) – say no to plastic straws – take a bag for life to the supermarket – keep food inside reusable containers rather than plastic wrapping – RECYCLE!
— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2018 © www.greyfeatherphotography.com
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