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I don’t ever sleep well on planes. So I spend most flights flicking between movie to movie. On a recent flight to Melbourne, I watched Craig Leeson’s documentary, A Plastic Ocean. With a team of a free diver and international scientists, Craig spent four years travelling the world exploring the fragile state of our oceans.
Like all good films, the documentary moved something inside me. I shouldn’t have needed this to change. Aside from some scientific data and graphic footage in the film, it was stuff that I know is happening. As a water baby since I was little, I’ve spent so much time exploring beaches, rivers and creeks with my family, wide eyed night walks into rock pools with local National Parks rangers, worked on cruise boats and yachts in both Australia and Indonesia, fished, dived and island hopped around the globe. I’ve lived by the ocean in coastal towns, spent summers in our family beaches house and now as a long term resident of the highly polluted city of Jakarta I’m living in a city choking on plastic waste. I cannot claim I didn’t know.
I have seen first hand the damage being done to our oceans. I know what happens to waste. I see plastic clogging drains, spewing out toxic fumes as it is burnt in homes and businesses all around me. So why am I continuing my behaviour?
I have made some changes in my lifestyle. I drink from glass straws. I take my lunch to work in glass containers. I rarely use snap lock bags and when I do I wash them out and reuse. My students and I collect plastic and turn it into eco bricks. But I am not doing enough. Nearly enough.
So here’s my pledge: I am going to try even harder to stop using plastic. I am going to try to encourage those around me to do the same. For me, for my children, the health of this planet and all beings on it.
Here’s the plastic that I used on that one flight (writing it out kind of shocked me):
4 plastic disposable cups- I even reused two of those
The plastic around two blankets- I asked for an extra one because I was cold
The plastic packaging on my headphones- I had two pairs in my backpack
The earplugs and their packaging. I hate earplugs- why do I even open them and try them every time?
The plastic pouch the eye mask came in. I hate them too, but always try them and take them home. Why don’t I say no thanks?
3 aqua bottles
A disposable toothbrush and tiny tube of toothpaste
All the wrapping on my three meals including a little plastic pudding spoon when there was already a metal one there
The cutlery packaging
A candy wrapper
Plastic packaging on two wet tissues
Thanks Garuda Indonesia for showing this documentary. Now how can we start to reduce some of this waste?