Oceans Day campaign raises awareness of large amount of plastic in world's oceans

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is asking people to be more aware of the amount of plastic they use and throw away.

People encouraged to tweet photos of themselves making use of re-usable bags

This 2008 photo provided by NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center shows plastic debris in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. (AP Photo/NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center) (NOAA/Associated Press)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is asking people to be more aware of the amount of plastic they use and throw away.

It's part of its Oceans Day campaign to raise awareness of what plastics can mean to marine life, including leatherback turtles, says Mireille Chiasson, DFO's manager for the Oceans Division for the Gulf Region.

"It's an international day to make people think a little bit and think about our oceans and how important they are in our lives," she said.

"The theme for the day is plastic so the issue surrounding plastic and environment, and in particular, in our oceans right now."

Ocean currents

Chiasson said plastics travel with the ocean currents and end up in different areas. She adds there are areas on the planet where there are dumps of plastic in the oceans. 

"They kind of concentrate in areas where the water is so thick with plastic that it would be difficult to swim through." 

As the problem grows, Chiasson said more species are being affected as they eat the plastic, mistaking it for food. She adds this plastic is now being found in some fish that people are consuming. 

Mireille Chiasson, DFO's manager for the Oceans Division for Gulf Region says they want people to tweet pictures of themselves using re-usable bags on Oceans Day. (Mireille Chiasson/Twitter)

It is estimated over eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. 

"Usually the culprits that we see the most often are plastic bags," she said, adding plastic bottles are a big problem as well.

Tweet a picture

Chiasson said to raise awareness, DFO is asking people to use re-usable bags instead of plastic and tweet a photo to DFO. 

Many events are held on Oceans Day to raise awareness.

"We encourage people to do beach cleanups," she said. 

A World Oceans Day story time is being held at the Confederation Centre library Thursday at 11:00 a.m. 

With files from Maggie Brown