Straws: Once on the Lips, Forever in our Oceans!
World Octopus day is celebrated on October 8 to highlight one of nature's most amazing animals! Octopuses are 8-armed wonders that possess 3 hearts, thousands of powerful suckers and remarkable intelligence. Here at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, we are fortunate to have the world’s largest species of octopus, the Giant Pacific Octopus. These giant cephalopods can grow to arm spans of 20 feet! They are also one of the longest-lived octopuses, with an average lifespan of 3-5 years. Octopuses feed on fish, crustaceans and mollusks, ALL of which are affected by plastic pollution. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic is deposited into the world’s oceans in a single year! Much of this pollution is single use plastics, such as straws, cups, bottles and bags, some of which is designed to be recycled. Not only do these items cause entanglement issues for wildlife, they are also consumed at all levels of the food chain, causing devastating mortality rates for many species. Some ways you can help at home are to switch from single use items to reusable items like metal straws, reusable water bottles and cloth bags. For items that can’t be reused, please ensure that you recycle them correctly.
OCRRA is Onondaga County’s resource for recycling, and they provide helpful guidelines to illustrate what is recyclable and what is garbage: https://ocrra.org/wp-content/uploads/1/2016/06/recycling-rules-080516.pdf
Another way you can help reduce plastic pollution includes purchasing products that have been produced from plastic waste found in the ocean like these face masks made by PADI gear: https://www.padigear.com/collections/padi-face-masks/mask
For more information concerning plastic pollution please visit Ourocean2017.org