I wanted to share this life-changing experience with you!
The other day I woke up at the crack of dawn. Hopped in a small boat. Drove out to the middle of the ocean. And jumped into the ocean with whale sharks.
It was an absolutely breath-taking experience! So I made a video to share with you.
However, on the trip I learnt some devastating facts about plastic waste. Once again, irresponsible humans are damaging the ecosystem of these beautiful creatures.
See the video below, and keep scrolling for the facts.
First I'll start with some happy facts:
- They’re not whales, but the world’s largest fish. The ones we saw were “medium” sized - but they were still 3x bigger than me.
- Although the mouth can stretch to 4 feet wide - their teeth are so tiny that they can only eat small fish, by using their gill rakers as a suction filter. Watching them eat looks like a huge vacuum!
Now, the not so happy facts:
- They can live to 150 years old - although sadly only 10% survive to adulthood
- Like other sharks, they are under great threat. Many get caught in fishing gear and the fins are even eaten in some countries.
- Climate change is warming the ocean water (their home) - which results in rising sea levels, the loss of icy polar habitats, and the decline of food sources.
- And plastic pollution is making things even worse. There’s an estimated 8 million tons of plastic entering our oceans every year, with 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste estimated in our oceans. These break down into tiny microplastics which are easily consumed through the whale sharks’ suction filters in their gills.
Hearing the not so happy facts is upsetting. But it's nice for all of us to be a part of this community.
Here we can all do our best to make the world a cleaner place to live.
Hope you enjoy the video 💕
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Harriet is the Co-Founder & Product Development Director at Zero Waste Cartel. When she's not testing new sustainable products, she's surfing small waves in Indonesia.