A small act of picking up beach rubbish will help towards protecting our marine wildlife.

Image: DOC

Introduction

Consider taking a first step towards protecting our marine family by combating plastic pollution.

At times, we like to think of New Zealand as it's seen on most maps: an isolated island nation on the edge of the world, tucked away in the corner and an ocean away from the fray.

But sometimes a global problem simply washes up on our shores. The problem is plastic.

Plastic is among the most pressing threats to seabirds globally. It gets into the ocean by the millions of tonnes a year, breaks down into bite-sized chunks, and ends up smelling just like an albatross feast. 90% of seabirds have been found to consume plastic.

Follow these "five Rs" to combat plastic pollution:

Reduce

Limit use of plastic in any way you can, especially the single-use disposables that are used for mere moments but persist for centuries.

Refuse

We get offered one-and-done plastic as a consumer all the time. From plastic bags, straws, takeaway cups, and sporks, there is plenty to say "no thanks" to.

Reuse

Of the plastic you have or encounter, give it extra life by using it again or repurposing it in creative ways.

Recycle

 Number 1 and 2 plastics are easier to recycle than others, and some areas recycle different plastics, so check what you can and can't recycle where you live.

Remove

Try to take plastic out of the environment in your daily life - this doesn't have to be at a beach clean-up, but it can be! Try snagging that plastic bag blowing down the street before you see it in the harbour or washed up in the tideline.

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