A Florida man has recently gained a lot of attention for a noble cause. Bryan Galvin recently embarked on a 20-day journey to help remove plastic products from our oceans and our beaches. “In case you were wondering… Yes, I do like long walks on the beach,” jokes Bryan Galvin on his GoFundMe page. Bryan Galvin took an over 20-day journey to walk 400 miles of beaches and remove plastic.
This was not a small effort and has been a journey to raise awareness about the worldwide issue of plastic in our oceans and shorelines. By the 13th day of his journey, he had already gathered over 700 pounds of plastic from the shores and oceans! That is excluding having found a large commercial fishing net and a massive plastic barrel that add another 100 pounds to his total, and that was not even his last day!
It has been said by multiple ocean conservation sites that it is estimated that more than 20-30 billion pounds of various plastic products will wind up in our ocean every year. The majority of these products are single-use products such as plastic cups, utensils, plastic straws, and worse plastic bags. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach made a statement, saying that there is no longer a question of whether or not a rescued turtle will have some form of plastic in its stomach, but a question of how much will they find.
It has been proven that around 80% of debris and trash in the ocean, comes from sources that are based on the land, also known as urban runoff. The sources include debris and trash from marinas and ports, construction sites, industrial and commercial buildings, trash from garbage cans, landfills, and trucks, and from people that litter. The other 20% comes from sources that are based in the ocean, like discarded fishing products and gear, as well as overboard discharge from various ships.
The biggest and most common debris comes from food containers, packaging, and plastic bags. The amount of debris has been increasing in the oceans worldwide. From 1997-2007 a study was released that showed the amount of plastic in the ocean outnumbered the plankton for the ocean surface. It is a well-known fact that the debris from plastic and plastic products injure and can even kill fish, marine mammals, and even birds. It has been shown that plastic pollution for marine life has in one way or another impacted over 267 different marine species and other species, worldwide! This includes 44% of all seabird species, 86% of various sea turtle species, and 43% of various other marine mammal species. Animals affected can suffer fatalities that result from starvation, ingestion, drowning, entanglement, and even suffocation.
Back in 2010, a whale (California gray whale) turned up on the shores, dead. When an autopsy was conducted, it was revealed that there was over 20 plastic bags, a golf ball, a pair of pants, duct tape, small towels, and even surgical gloves were inside the whale’s stomach. That is a lot of problems we caused for that whale, and that is only one creature.
Birds that eat from the surface of the ocean are very likely to wind up ingesting some sort of floating plastic debris. The adult birds will then feed this to their babies, which creates problems for survival and growth for the babies. A study found that 98% of chicks tested contained some sort of plastic and that the amount of plastic ingested increases over time.
This is not just a problem for animals, however, this is also affecting the human food chain. Researchers have found that fish are ingesting plastic as well and that in turn means we will be ingesting plastic from what we eat. This is the sad reality of our world, and we are the ones that need to take responsibility for the destruction that we are causing. That is the goal that Bryan Galvin and his team are now working towards. Raising awareness, while making a small impact on the massive problem that is only growing worse. He has gathered more than just trash, as his Gofundme reached it’s goal of $1,000 and also proposed to his fiance while out on the beach! Galvin also donated his hair to locks of love at the end of his journey in memory of a dear friend.
As Galvin continued his journey, more and more joined up with him, friends, strangers, and even conservationists made their way out to the shores to help Galvin get his point across and bring more awareness to this very serious issue. His journey started in Fernandina Beach and came to a close at Miami Beach.
The Plastic Symptoms website and Facebook page are available in order to view Bryan Galvin’s documented journey with blogs, pictures, and more. This was a great journey and has continued to raise more awareness to this issue in our oceans.
Check out the videos from his journey on his youtube page here!