Consumers are pushing back against use of plastics: here’s why, and what we can do to help
Seeing is believing when it comes to the level of plastic in our oceans and the destruction it can cause. Oceans make up 70% of the earth’s total land mass, but until recently, many people were unaware about of the huge amount of plastic present in our oceans.
By 2050, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts that the amount of plastic in the ocean will weigh more than fish. Over 100 million marine creatures a year are found dead after being entangled in plastic bags and packaging – devastating populations of sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. Almost 700 separate species have encountered plastic waste in the ocean, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Scientists have identified over 200 dead zones where life can’t survive because of the amount of plastic in the sea.
But statistics alone don’t cut through, what really makes a difference is when people see pictures and are able to visualise the scale of the problem. David Attenborough’s Planet Earth documentary or the LADbible Group founding Trash Isle, allowing people to become citizens of an island the size of France made entirely of plastic debris, helped people to realise how serious the devastation is.
Documentary makers, photographers and campaigners can help people to understand and relate to the scale of this problem, and take vital steps to solve it.
My company, Chasing Innovation, makes the GLADIUS Advanced Pro, an underwater drone that is designed to capture high quality footage below the water’s surface. It is equipped with a 4K camera and can go to depths of 100m, so can be used by a range of people to assess the quality of the oceans, raise awareness about the levels of destruction, and – hopefully – monitor improvements.
Researchers and marine biologists using the drone can see underwater clearly, exploring spaces that may be too small or remote for a diver, as they can accurately control the drone using a tablet or phone like a video game controller. This means that we can explore parts of the ocean that might be difficult to reach and discuss pictures as the drone captures them in real time, thanks to its live streaming function.
This footage helps to bring rising awareness about the problem of plastics to consumers. Now, 84% of people are concerned about how much plastic is in the ocean, according to Sky Data. The more that businesses can support marine experts, talented videographers and underwater enthusiasts, the more people will know about this problem and be able to take action. That could be as simple as taking shopping bags to the supermarkets, switching to reusable packaging alternatives and opting to buy products that don’t contain microbeads. The more that businesses help people to live in a way that reflects what is important to them, the more people will respect our brands for acting in their interests – and the interests of everyone on the planet.
Johnson Zhang, CEO of Chasing Innovation.