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Plastic pollution

Over 400 million tonnes of plastics are produced every year. Around 9 million tonnes end up in the ocean, killing hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and other marine animals. Especially the single use of plastics generates gigantic amounts of waste.

Plastic material is popular because it is robust, durable and cheap. The downside is, however, that it breaks down extremely slowly, eventually becoming microplastic. These small particles are found in our ocean, lakes, rivers, soils and even in our bodies. Despite these devastating impacts, the plastic industry plans to increase its production by around 40 per cent in the coming years – a dangerous trend.

Facts on plastic pollution →

Facts on microplastic →

Publications on plastics →

Addressing the problem at its root: legal measures

OceanCare is advocating for binding measures that lead to a reduction in the production, consumption and disposal of plastic. The plastic issue needs to be tackled upstream and along the entire life-cycle of plastic. This is the only way to stem the tide of plastic pollution.

 

  • Internationally, OceanCare – as an organisation with UN consultative status with ECOSOC and as a member of the BreakFreeFromPlastic coalition – is calling for a legally binding plastic treaty on better regulating the plastic issue along its entire life-cycle. In terms of toxic chemicals used in the plastic production, plastic producers should declare ingredients; toxic chemicals and harmful materials should be banned.
  • In Europe, OceanCare is also part of the Seas at Risk coalition and is committed to ensuring that the European Union’s (EU) Plastics Strategy and Single-Use Plastic Directive are appropriately implemented.
  • In Switzerland, OceanCare is working towards an improved regulation for single-use plastics, in the wake of the EU Plastics Strategy and SUP Directive. An appeal was also made to the Swiss parliament to advocate for Switzerland’s ambition pertaining to a global legally binding plastic agreement.

​Providing help: rescuing injured marine animals

Marine plastic pollution threatens whales, dolphins, seals and many other marine animals. They mistake it for food and starve to death because indigestible plastic clogs their stomachs. Ghost gear become deadly traps in which animals can get caught and drown. OceanCare works with centres around the world that rescue injured and stranded marine animals, nurse them to health and release them back into the wild. This animal rescue network is constantly growing.

 

Sea turtles are acutely endangered worldwide. This is how we contribute to their rescue.

 

More and more animals are getting caught in ghost gear. Magazine on the subject of ghost nets (in German only).

 

Our partner organisation Save the Med rescues marine animals that have become entangled in marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea.

Less is more: the “I Care” movement

More and more people would like to change their lifestyle and use less plastics. We all have to use less, recycle whenever possible and dispose of our plastic waste appropriately. The movement “I Care” brings together people who want to make a difference. Join in with the ​ Join in with the #plasticdiet

 

Single-use plastic is a problem for our planet. Do you want to be part of the solution? Then join the I Care #plasticdiet.

The German rock band ITCHY was working with OceanCare to promote a more mindful approach to single-use plastic.

Contain the danger: Remove litter from nature

Plastic is omnipresent today – in our immediate environment, but also in supposedly pristine regions of the planet. To prevent plastic waste from entering lakes, rivers and the sea, OceanCare organises and supports clean-up activities. Litter is removed from nature preventing deadly traps for marine life and the problem is made publicly visible.

 

Clean-up action at and in the lake in Zurich on the occasion of the annual World Cleanup Day.

 

Our partner organisation Trash Hero and its volunteers cleans beaches worldwide.

Warning: Plastic can harm your health

Plastic consists of crude oil and natural gas. Chemicals are added during production, including endocrine disruptors like phthalates or toxic flame retardants made from bromine. Food packaging contains up to 12,000 substances, some of which are toxic, and some of which pass from the packaging into the food. When we eat food wrapped in plastic, we sometimes consume an invisible cocktail of toxic substances. OceanCare wants to ensure that the plastics industry has to declare the ingredients of its products and that it is no longer allowed to use particularly toxic chemicals and materials.

Interview → Virus protection through plastic is an illusion

Interview → When plastic makes you sick. Effects on our health. Nov. 2020

Reusable masks – to keep you and the oceans healthy