The situation should alarm you.
Each year, 18 billion pounds of plastic flow into our ocean, according to a National Geographic report. The effects have been massive, with scientists reporting at least 700 marine species facing serious difficulties due to plastic pollution.
Just read this story about sea turtles eating plastic bags. It’s shocking. Everyone must take note of what’s happening.
The situation extends beyond the oceans. Plastic waste plagues our world’s most important and biodiverse land regions, from the Himalayas in Nepal to national parks in South Africa. Plastic pollution is killing fish and wildlife in the Amazon, for instance.
Although plastic made a lot of modern life possible, especially when manufacturing of the material took off post-World War 2, plastic waste now poses one of the greatest threats to the world. More than 40% of plastic is used just once, and the waste has choked our waterways and environment. If we don’t do something, the consequences could drown us.
So, you may be asking yourself: How do we stop plastic pollution?
Well, while we can’t halt the production and use of plastic overnight, we can actually stop plastic pollution (or at least reduce it). As experts note, it’s “the management of plastic waste that determines the risk of plastic entering the ocean.”
In short, you can make a difference by taking action. If you’re looking for ways to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and on our land, know you can do your part as a volunteer for the environment.
In this guide, we’ll cover all you can do to stop plastic pollution, from beach and ocean cleanups to environmental research and wildlife conservation. Read on!
How to stop plastic pollution as a volunteer
Want to know how to stop plastic pollution?
Volunteer abroad in regions greatly affected by plastic waste. Going where your help is most needed ensures you can make the biggest impact. Destinations include biologically diverse coastal areas, rainforests, and urban areas that suffer from high pollution.
You have many ways to reduce plastic pollution as a volunteer for the environment. For example, you could:
- Perform marine research
- Love Volunteers runs a Great Barrier Reef Conservation project in Australia. As a volunteer, you can fight plastic pollution by diving and monitoring the coral reef.
- Assist with ocean cleanups
- Example: Want to know how to stop plastic pollution in the ocean? Via Volunteers, a leader in ethical volunteering in South Africa, runs a project off the coast of Cape Town that involves sailing to do thorough ocean cleanups as well as beach cleanups. This initiative protects local turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, and other marine species.
- Volunteer for beach cleanups
- Example: Protect the 5,000 acres of Montgo National Park through GoEco’s coastal conservation program in Denia, Spain. Through beach cleanups and educational workshops for the local community, you can reduce plastic pollution.
- Join wildlife conservation efforts
- Example: GoEco, a leading ecotourism company, oversees impactful projects to protect endangered species, like their marine turtle conservation program in the Maldives. Join marine conservationists and give marine turtles a healthier environment.
- Help with recycling initiatives
- As mentioned above, if you want to stop plastic pollution, better management of plastic waste is a necessary first step. Projects like Globalteer’s Clean Water initiative in Cambodia work to better manage waste and ensure communities in need can negate the impact of pollution, especially from plastics and other contaminants. Globalteer is a UK charity committed to helping communities better manage their resources, which includes better management of waste.
- Clean up important forests
- Become an educator
As you can see, you have many ways to reduce plastic pollution as a volunteer for the environment. When choosing a program, consider your skills, interests, and budget. By choosing a suitable project, you can make a difference and stop plastic pollution!
Note: For most of the volunteer abroad programs listed here, your participation includes 24/7 support, airport pickup, orientation, accommodation, and some meals. Check with each individual program for full details as well as program requirements. And prepare accordingly.