The hashtag #PlasticInTheBasket came to life on a fishing trip. It had been a good day with a few fish in the bag, but on the way home, the shore became colorful. Red, blue, green, transparent and dirty fragments of plastic were scattered up and down the coast. Comprehending what our beautiful coasts are being subjected to was a terrible realization. As anglers, we wanted to do something, but all we had with us was the stripping basket we used for fishing. It was perfect.
In less than five minutes, the stripping basket was overflowing. It held about two kilos, but hundreds of kilos were left behind on the shore. What else could we do? After a few moments’ thought, we decided to share our frustration on social media. This resulted in the hashtag #PlasticInTheBasket. Shortly afterward, the idea was liked and shared many times. If anglers and the general public want to make a difference, collecting plastic must become as natural as breathing. If you feel up to it, spend five minutes on your way back putting #PlasticInTheBasket whenever you can.
Some organizations are selling recycled wristbands, recycled bottles or recycled bags to keep their organization going. It is great that so many people are supporting organizations and in return, you will help remove plastic from the ocean. I know one organization, where you can buy an item and in return, they will remove 1 kg of plastic in the ocean. What an admirable idea and I did it myself but think about it this way. If you go out and collect a basket, you will easily remove 1 kg of plastic. If you share a photo of this on your social media account and 10 of your friends follow your example, you have helped remove 10 kg of plastic. If their friends do the same, you will have helped remove 100 kg of plastic and so on. Today the hashtag has been used over 1.0000 times, which might equal over 1 ton of plastic being removed from the coastline from the #plasticinthebasket hashtag. I would like to believe that is making a difference.
Traces of human activity are found along coastlines all over the world, and one of them is plastic. The plastic strewn along Danish coastlines. The plastic polluting our environment. The plastic found in our sea trout. You can fight to reduce the amount of plastic we use on every single fishing trip by putting #PlasticInTheBasket.
The coasts of Fyn are some of the most beautiful in Denmark. All around the island, you will find beautiful cliffs sloping down to the water, countless coves winding their way through the landscape and endless beaches with small stony reefs, trees reaching for the sun and teeming wildlife. But down among the stones, you will also find items besides the treasures of nature. Looking closely, you will soon be able to see old bottles, toys, cutlery, cups and all sorts of other things among the stones. Many are made of plastic.
Researchers have determined that between 8 and 10 million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea every year. As a result, more than 90% of all birds have plastic in their stomachs. These numbers are frightening and are rising year by year because the production of plastic is increasing along with the growing world population.
Much of this plastic comes from plastic bottles, disposable plastic such as straws, shopping bags and wrapping film. After a plastic bottle enters the sea, it slowly starts to decompose. However, the worst thing is that the plastic doesn’t disappear. It breaks down into what are commonly referred to as microplastics. Microplastics are almost invisible and are found everywhere in the sea. Most remain in upper layer of water where there is a risk that they will be ingested by birds, prawns and small fish. The small fish are then eaten by bigger fish, which ultimately means that the predators at the top of the food chain accumulate large amounts of plastic. So when we catch a sea trout, there is a great risk that it will contain traces of plastic.
Facts about plastic
- We dump more than eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year
- More than 90% of all birds have plastic in their stomach
- There are approximately 5,000,000,000,000,000,000 microplastic particles in the sea
- A plastic bag has an average service life of about 15 minutes
So do your part and fill your net, stripping basket, bag, whatever you may have with plastic and be sure to tag #PlasticInTheBasket for the world to see and we can begin to cut down on plastic waste resulting in a healthier world!
Follow along with Nikolaj Korsholm on the @plasticinthebasket Instagram profile and be sure to tag #PlasticInTheBasket