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Atlantic spotted dolphin with plastic bag, by Joost van Uffelen

Plastic for World Wildlife Day

Traditionally on World Wildlife Day I would post a fancy pic of some charismatic marine wildlife to celebrate this day..

Recently however I feel a bit different about these days, since we (read: me) might miss a chance to point out some of the ocean issues I observe. 

In other words, I'd like to not just show the beauty anymore, but also the beast..

Not a trip goes by where we don't encounter animals in distress due to human impact, like this dolphin carrying an old, black, single-use plastic bag in its mouth.

It was in trouble getting rid of the bag while it kept swimming forward, which kept pushing the bag further down its throat..

I feel obliged to show encounters like this, because I feel quite ashamed to watch what we do to (the homes of) these animals.

So, for this years WWD here is a series of images taken on our last trip to the Bahamas.

During our time in the sea in general we encounter plastics.. and shitloads of it.. Don't make the mistake this is only the Bahamians trashing their ocean.

I will provide some (slightly depressing, but sometimes quite interesting) links here to prove this is a worldwide phenomenon. 

Plastic affects all animals like this one of a spermwhale in Indonesia, or this whaleshark in Malaysia..

You also should not miss out on this one from a leopard seal in Antarctica, it's totally crazy, but true..

The deepsea is affected too; here is one of a living fossil (an awesome fish called a coelacanth) from South Africa that potato chips manufacturer Lays will not like..!

This one shows microscopic plankton feeding on plastic, proving plastic enters the food chain on all levels (including ours).. 

The last one is from closer to home (from Britain), showing that each animal that got stranded last year had ingested plastics of all sizes..

The oceans are all connected and we all take part in this in one way or another. 

So, please consider this when you are buying and using your products, in every step of the way.

In the end this dolphin got rid of the bag, by frantically shaking its head from left to right.

We picked up the bag and its leftovers, just to be sure..

We pick up plastic from the ocean each time we enter it, knowing it won't solve the issue on a large scale.

So, what can you do to avoid this stuff or help?

Well, buy less, use what you bought well and make sure it ends up in a proper place after you stop using it.

Above all, use less plastic and share the word about reducing our footprint..

Why, some might ask? Well, because this is how these dolphins should play; not with our crap..

Will you change your habits, even if it is just in small steps?

Many small steps go a long way...!

joostvanuffelen's picture
About the Author:
Joost loves the oceans, travelling and (underwater)photography. Combining those three elements he creates ocean art, travel reports and ocean photo stories...

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