Imagine a bright blue sky, the sound of waves quietly lapping at the shore and you far away from home lying on a white sandy beach, with on the right of you an empty packet of Doritos, 2 cans and 6 plastic bottles and on the left half a pallet, a couple of chocolate wrappers and one fractured flip-flop. Not so idyllic anymore, this picture, is it? Although nobody needs to be told the world’s suffering from a pretty grave plastic problem sometimes you come across facts that really bring home how serious this issue actually is! For example I read an article in the Guardian recently which stated over 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes! Holy Cow!! Or that apparently 900,000 bottles and cans are landfilled or littered every hour in Australia alone.. There are shocking statistics out there for most places on the planet and although those numbers and saddening images work well as a wake up call for some, most of us already know the deadly truth about trash.. We’re also aware that we need to get our policy makers to take a stand on the problem and put more responsibility on to the producer, but until then what’s a normal girl or guy like you or me to do?
The Two hands Project is a collective approach to dealing with plastic pollution: ‘Take 30 minutes and two hands to clean up YOUR world anytime, anywhere’ is their slogan. Sure these guys support the spirits of the big international clean up days but simultaneously call upon people like you and me to organise an ally (or not), pick a date and see what you can do with 2-4 hands in thirty minutes. And it’s this taking things back to grassroots what makes this project so cool as they’re concentrating on the things you and me can do for the places we care about anytime we want. Whether that’s the street you pass every day on your way to work or that beach you love and go to on a beautifully sunny day. Whether it’s on holiday or at home and whether you do it because you’re concerned about the state of our oceans, you want to protect our birds from getting entangled in plastic six-pack rings or the sight of an empty bottle of coke in your favourite green park is enough to make you shake your fist in fury, what you or you and a friend can do with two hands is easy.
So how does it work?
- Print out a sign for the photo and passers by to see
- Get gloves, a bag and a bucket (pen & paper?) together
- Spend 30 min picking up as much plastic pollution as possible
- Take a pic of you and your ‘haul’
- Dispose of the collected rubbish correctly
- Share your pic on Facebook & Twitter using the #twohands hashtag
If you have extra time download the Two Hands Project data collection sheet and do a post clear up count to help Two Hands use this info to better inform a wider community.
The sharing of pics on social media has resulted in ‘The Two Hands’ Facebook page teeming with paradoxical pics of people smiling and proudly pointing at their personally assembled mountain of mess. Looking at these photo’s makes you feel a bit better already.
Me? I’m lucky enough to live very close to the sea and have some stunning beaches close to my home which attracted more than 9 million tourists this year. The beaches in summer are full and this reflects in the amount of rubbish that gets left behind every day and although I’m not much of a beach bum I still prefer my beaches bottle-less thank you very much. So I set out last Saturday morning and after half an hour had collected a confused jumble that could inspire most contemporary artists to create a masterpiece! I picked up: 59 plastic bottles, 9 crisp packets, 18 plastic cups, 7 random bits of foam, half a chair, part of a trolley, an umbrella, torn police tape, a paint tube and a big heap of plastic bags which all together culminated in half a k of cleaned up beach.
I’m fully aware I didn’t save the planet that Saturday morning and definitely don’t deserve a big pat on the back but I did make this world a teeny, weeny, tiny bit cleaner and that’s a helluva lot better than doing nothing right? And just imagine if half of all 5.250.000.000 adults on the planet would use their two paws for half an hour to pick up some plastic? This would result in no less than 1.312.500.000 km’s of beautifully, clean, clear beach. That’s the equivalent of 1100 times the entire coastline of the world….
Now, how’s that for a statistic?!