Renowned shark cage diving company, White Shark Projects, has launched a 21-day plastic challenge as this year’s ocean awareness campaign, with the theme Reduce, Replace, Refuse = Restore.

Charmaine Beukes, MD of White Shark Projects, says the company first introduced its 21 Days concept in 2014.

“The concept behind the 21 Days is that it takes 21 days for you to break a bad habit and to reintroduce a new, healthier, better habit. The bad habit we focus on is our attitude toward, and the mistreatment of our oceans,” she said.

This year the company has called on communities to spend 21 days taking note of their plastic footprint. People are urged to not only try to reduce and replace products with plastic-free alternatives, but also to refuse products that have too much plastic packaging.

This, said Beukes, would go a long way towards restoring the damage being done to the ocean.

“We are by no means asking people to go plastic cold turkey, but rather to become aware of the amount of plastic in their lives and to be open to making choices that will ultimately help alleviate the amount of plastic that lands up in the ocean.”

According to Beukes, an estimated overwhelming eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. She said while plastic was a necessary evil of the modern age, much could be done to stem the flow of it into the ocean and during the 21 Days campaign tips and ideas were shared via social media to assist in the task.

She said the campaign included a zero waste challenge for one day and a coastal clean-up.

“The ocean is not just home to incredible creatures like the Great White shark, but plays a vital role to the health of our planet. Four out of every five breaths we take come from the ocean. We need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our contribution to its state.”